Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Florida Scientists Uncover Inflammatory Circuit That Triggers Breast Cancer

24.02.2012
Findings Point to Potentially Effective New Therapeutic Target for Cancer Treatment and Prevention

Although it’s widely accepted that inflammation is a critical underlying factor in a range of diseases, including the progression of cancer, little is known about its role when normal cells become tumor cells.

Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shed new light on exactly how the activation of a pair of inflammatory signaling pathways leads to the transformation of normal breast cells to cancer cells.

The study, led by Jun-Li Luo, an assistant professor at Scripps Florida, was published online before print by the journal Molecular Cell on February 23, 2012.

The scientists’ discovery points to the activation of a self-sustaining signaling circuit that inhibits a specific RNA, a well-known tumor suppressor that helps limit the spread of cancer (metastasis). Therapies that disable this circuit and halt this miRNA repression could have the potential to treat cancer.

The Spark that Ignites Trouble

In the new study, scientists identified the specific pathways that transform breast epithelial cells into active cancer cells.

The researchers found immune/inflammatory cells ignite the transient activation of MEK/ERK and IKK/NF-kB pathways; the MEK/ERK pathway then directs a consistent activation of a signaling circuit in transformed cells. This consistent signaling circuit maintains the malignant state of the tumor cells.

Luo compares this process to starting a car—a car battery starts the engine much like the transient signal activation turns on the consistent signal circuit. Once the engine is started, it no longer needs the battery.

The scientists go on to show that the initial activation of these pathways also activates IL6, a cytokine involved in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including cancer. IL6 acts as a tumor initiator, sparking the self-sustaining circuit in normal breast cells necessary for the initiation and maintenance of their transformed malignant state.

In establishing that self-sustaining signal circuit, IL6 represses the action of microRNA-200c, which is responsible for holding down inflammation and cell transformation. Since enhanced microRNA-200c expression impairs the growth of existing cancer cells and increases their sensitivity to anti-tumor drugs, compounds that disable microRNA-200c repression have the potential to act as a broad-spectrum therapeutic.

Interestingly, the new findings dovetail with the “multiple-hits theory” of tumor formation, which posits that once normal cells in the human body accumulate enough pre-cancerous mutations, they are at high-risk for transformation into tumor cells. While the newly described initial pathway activation is momentary and not enough to cause any lasting changes in cell behavior, it may be just enough to tip the cell’s transformation to cancer, especially if it comes on top of an accumulation of other cellular changes.

The first author of the study, “IL6-Mediated Suppression of Mir-200c Directs Constitutive Activation of an Inflammatory Signaling Circuit That Drives Transformation and Tumorigenesis,” is Matjaz Rokavec of Scripps Research. Other authors include Weilin Wu, also of Scripps Research.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Health, the United States Department of Defense, the Florida Department of Health, and Frenchman’s Creek Women for Cancer Research.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.
For information:
Mika Ono
Tel: 858-784-2052
Fax: 858-784-8136
mikaono@scripps.edu

Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New technique for in-cell distance determination
19.03.2019 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Dalian Coherent Light Source reveals hydroxyl super rotors from water photochemistry
19.03.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>