Mouse studies suggest that blocking aid from white blood cells and stem cells could keep tumors contained
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified chemical signals that certain breast cancers use to recruit two types of normal cells needed for the cancers' spread. A description of the findings appears in the online early May edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Blocking one of these cell-recruiting signals in a mouse's tumor made it much less likely to metastasize or spread," says Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., a professor and director of the Vascular Biology Program in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Institute for Cell Engineering.
"If a drug can be found that safely blocks the same signal in humans, it could be a very useful addition to current breast cancer treatment — particularly for patients with chemotherapy-resistant tumors."
Semenza's research group studies a chemical signal called hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), which cells release to help them cope with low-oxygen conditions. Earlier, the group determined that HIF-1 helps breast tumor cells survive the low-oxygen conditions in which they often live, and spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs. "In breast cancer, it's not the original tumor that kills patients, but the metastases," says Semenza.
Also in a previous study, Semenza's group found that HIF-1 induced adult stem cells called mesenchymal stem cells release a signal to nearby breast cancer cells, which made them more likely to spread. The researchers suspected this communication might run both ways and that the stem cells' presence might also help the cancer to recruit the host animal's white blood cells. Breast cancers need the support of several types of host cells in order to metastasize, including mesenchymal stem cells and one type of white blood cell, Semenza notes.
Studying tumor cells grown in a dish, Semenza's team used chemicals that blocked the functions of various proteins to map a web of signals flying among breast cancer cells, menenchymal stem cells and white blood cells. One positive feedback loop brought mesenchymal stem cells close in to the breast cancer cells. A separate loop of signals between the stem cells and cancer cells caused the cancer cells to release a chemical "beacon" that drew in white blood cells. The concentrations of all the signals in the web were increased by the presence of HIF-1 — and ultimately, by low-oxygen conditions.
The team then used genetic engineering to reduce the levels of the cell-recruiting signals in breast cancer cells and implanted those cells into female mice. Compared with unaltered breast cancer cells, those with reduced recruiting power grew into similar-sized tumors, Semenza says, but were much less likely to spread.
All of the breast cancer cells used in the study were so-called triple-negative, meaning they lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, so they do not respond to therapies that target those receptors. In people, triple-negative breast cancers also tend to be more deadly than other breast cancers because they contain more HIF-1, Semenza says. "This study adds to the evidence that a HIF-1 inhibitor drug could be an effective addition to chemotherapy regimens, especially for triple-negative breast cancers," he says. Several potential drugs of this kind are now in the early stages of development, he notes.
Link to the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/05/01/1406655111.abstract
Other authors on this paper were Pallavi Chaturvedi, Daniele M. Gilkes and Naoharu Takano, all of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Johns Hopkins Researchers Discover How Breast Cancer Spreads to Lung http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/johns_hopkins_researchers_discover_how_breast_cancer_spreads_to_lung
Johns Hopkins Researchers Link Cell Division And Oxygen Levels http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/johns_hopkins_researchers_link_cell_division_and_oxygen_levels
Shawna Williams | Eurek Alert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences