Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Studying a catalyst for blood cancers

25.04.2017

Imagine this scenario on a highway: A driver starts to make a sudden lane change but realizes his mistake and quickly veers back, too late. Other motorists have already reacted and, in some cases, collide. Meanwhile, the original motorist - the one who caused the problem - drives on.

This is similar to what happens with the protein TET2 and a variety of blood cancers. TET2 is a tumor suppressor, preventing hematopoietic (blood) stem cells from overgrowing. However, if TET2 becomes mutated, which happens more frequently than we like, it allows other genes to mutate. TET2 loss does not actually create a cancerous state, but it helps create the conditions for cancer to thrive.


This is a tumor-cell infiltration into the liver of a Tet2-ko mouse.

Credit: Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

"If you lose TET2, it's not a malignant state, per se," said Mingjiang Xu, M.D., Ph.D., cancer researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "But it's creating a situation for other mutations to happen, leading to all types of blood cancer."

Xu and colleagues have been studying Tet2 for several years, and are starting to get a handle on how it operates. They published a paper today in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, which describes how TET2 loss can open the door for mutations that drive myeloid, lymphoid, and other cancers.

A different kind of mutation

That TET2 has a hand in several blood cancers makes it unique. Many mutated genes generate a specific type of cancer, depending on where they originate.

"If you lose TET2, it leads to blood cancers and it could be any type," said Xu. "Usually if you lose one gene, it leads to one specific cancer."

TET2 is an enzyme that demethylates DNA. Methylation turns down genes, keeping them from coding for specific proteins. In other words, TET2 may operate as a master switch, controlling whether certain genes are turned on or off.

TET2 mutations are found in 30 percent of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); 30 percent of secondary acute myeloid leukemias; and more than 50 percent of chronic myelomonocytic leukemias.

In the Nature Communications paper, Xu's team showed that mice without the Tet2 gene are more prone to blood cancers. In fact, removing Tet2 turns blood stem cells into mutation machines, and some of those malfunctions generate cancer.

Targeting Tet2

From a clinical standpoint, TET2 is a little tricky. First, it is easier to turn a protein off than turn it on. In addition, TET2 does not actually drive the cancer alone - it's the mutations acquired cooperate with the TET2 loss doing that nasty work. Turning up Tet2 could be helpful, but it has to happen early. Once the mutations are generated, targeting Tet2 would have little effect.

Still, Xu believes TET2 therapeutics could have a place in blood cancer treatment. He notes that around 5 percent of people over the age of 70 have TET2 mutations, which would make them ideal candidates for a preventive therapy.

"We are developing a method to target TET2," said Xu. "If we target that population for early therapy, we could potentially prevent those downstream mutations from happening."

Media Contact

Patrick Bartosch
PATRICK.BARTOSCH@MED.MIAMI.EDU
305-243-8219

http://www.med.miami.edu/ 

Patrick Bartosch | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: TET2 blood cancer blood cancers blood stem cells leukemias mutations

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>