Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA end caps may lead to cancer treatments

03.02.2006


The two ends of human DNA have different structures that are treated differently as a cell divides, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found in a study that could help lead to cancer therapies.



The study — published in the Feb. 3 issue of the journal Molecular Cell — focuses on the ends of DNA, which are capped by segments called telomeres. Each time the cell divides, the telomeres shorten. When they become too short, the aging cell can no longer divide. But in most cancer cells, an enzyme called telomerase keeps the telomeres from shortening, making the cells immortal and potentially malignant.

"Drugs that influence these mechanisms might be used to slow replicative aging in normal cells and increase the efficacy of telomerase-inhibition therapies for cancer," said Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology.


In human cells, every chromosome has a telomere at each end, and each telomere ends in a single-stranded overhang. (DNA is normally double-stranded.) The overhang at one end of the chromosome is longer than at the other.

"Understanding the structure of the overhang is clearly very important for our ultimate ability to understand and manipulate these things for a variety of purposes," Dr. Wright said.

The researchers believe that the rate of shortening is influenced by the length of the overhang — more DNA is lost from ends that have longer overhangs. Telomerase also changed the relative size of the two tails.

"We need to understand how this size is regulated, since we would like to be able to manipulate it for therapeutic purposes," he said.
Dr. Wright and his collaborator, Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology, are world-renowned for their work on telomeres and telomerase. They helped develop an anti-telomerase drug that helps slow the spread of lung cancer cells in mice. The drug is being tested in humans to see if it’s safe.

The researchers say that any anti-telomerase drug would not be used alone to treat cancer. Rather, it would be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, to ensure that any cells not killed by those treatments don’t spread to other tissues.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Weihang Chai, instructor of cell biology, and former senior research associate Qun Du, now with Cumbre Inc.

The work was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship, the National Institutes of Health and an Ellison Foundation Senior Scholarship.

Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>