Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study details genes that control whether tumors adapt or die when faced with p53 activating drugs

23.05.2013
When turned on, the gene p53 turns off cancer. However, when existing drugs boost p53, only a few tumors die – the rest resist the challenge.
A study published in the journal Cell Reports shows how: tumors that live even in the face of p53 reactivation create more of the protein p21 than the protein PUMA; tumors that die have more PUMA than p21. And, for the first time, the current study shows a handful of genes that control this ratio.

“The gene p53 is one of the most commonly mutated cancer genes. Tumors turn it off and then they can avoid controls that should kill them. Fine: we have drugs that can reactivate p53. But the bad news is when we go into the clinic with these drugs, only maybe one in ten tumors actually dies. We wanted to know what genes fine-tune this p53 effectiveness,” says Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at CU Boulder, and the paper’s senior author.

To answer that question, the group including first author Zdenek Andrisyk, PhD, postdoc in the Espinosa Lab, turned off every gene in the human genome in turn and asked if there were genes that, when deactivated, would tip the balance from p21 to PUMA, thus enhancing the likelihood of cell death.

“We found a couple dozen genes involved in this ratio – genes that with p53 activated, lead to more p21 and better survival or more PUMA and more cell death,” Espinosa says.

The hope is that in addition to drugs that reactivate the tumor-suppressor gene p53, patients could be given a second drug targeting genes that control this p21/PUMA ratio, thus making first drug more effective. Likewise, in cases in which toxicity in healthy tissue limits the use of p53 activating drugs, Espinosa’s research could lead to new drugs that thumb the scale of the p21/PUMA ratio toward survival in these healthy tissues. Up or down: learning to adjust the ratio has immense promise.

The group’s next step is likely repeating the genetic screen with additional tumor and healthy cell lines to discover which of their newly discovered candidate genes are common controllers of the p21/PUMA ratio across cancer types. And, interestingly, the same technique could be used to make many existing drugs more effective.

“With many of these molecularly targeted therapies, you want one effect but then you end up with many other possible effects,” Espinosa says. (An example is the recently-reported side effect of low testosterone in male lung cancer patient taking the molecularly targeted drug crizotinib.) The genetic screening technique used in the Espinosa lab could help disentangle effect from side effect – showing which secondary genes regulate the desired, tumor-killing response and which secondary genes lead to undesirable side-effects.

“Not only could this technique lead to drugs that decrease the side effects of targeted therapies, but if you’re not limited by these side effects, you can simply give more drug, perhaps making existing drugs much more powerful,” Espinosa says.

Garth Sundem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdenver.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment

15.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain

15.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>