Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Here's how cancer hijacks wound healing to create its own blood supply

02.05.2019

UVA IDs natural process tumors co-opt to feed their growth, spread

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have shed light on how cancers hijack the body's natural wound-healing response to grow and spread.


These are untreated blood vessel sprouts (left), compared with blood vessel sprouts following treatment with microRNA.

Courtesy Dudley Lab, UVA School of Medicine

The researchers have identified specific processes within endothelial cells - the cells that line blood vessels - that tumors use to build out their own blood supply.

These processes are normally used by the body to repair tissue, heal injuries and grow new blood vessels, but tumors co-opt them to create blood vessels that will nourish them and feed their growth.

"A tumor is not just a ball of malignant cancer cells, right? It's almost like a little miniature organ that creates or co-opts its own blood supply," explained Andrew C. Dudley, PhD, of UVA's Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology.

"A tumor steals as it's growing and developing. It steals physiological processes that help it along. And one of those processes is wound healing. And that's what we've been studying - how the tumor subverts this process of wound healing."

Unexpected Diversity

Intriguingly, the research suggests that endothelial cells have a previously unknown degree of specialization that varies among individual cells. Some appear to have a better ability to form new blood vessels than others.

PhD student James V. McCann was able, using some cutting-edge methodologies, to stratify various endothelial cells based on what he called their "functional diversity." This was based partly on the amount of a particular type of microRNA, and the gene it targets, inside the cells. MicroRNAs are tiny molecules responsible for controlling the expression of genes, a process that goes haywire in cancer.

Endothelial cells that were rich in this particular microRNA struggled to sprout new blood vessels, he found, while those with less were better at it. The amount varied even among individual endothelial cells within a developing tumor.

Looking at breast cancer samples, the researchers were able to determine that patients with the best outcomes were those with the highest levels of the microRNA. Further, delivering the microRNA to the endothelial cells of a developing tumor in mice significantly reduced the number of blood vessels and slowed overall tumor growth, McCann found.

The researchers caution that there are obstacles that prevent their work from being immediately applicable in people. Treating breast cancer won't be as simple as giving patients more of this specific microRNA. However, the scientists are excited to have shed light on a vascular-directed process that cancer exploits to create its own blood supply, and to have given scientists new leads in the battle against the disease.

"Cancer as an un-healing wound is an old hypothesis" McCann said. "But we have identified a new way tumors subvert the wound healing process for growth and development."

###

The researchers have published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and was featured on the cover. The research team consisted of McCann, Lin Xiao, Dae Joong Kim, Omar F. Khan, Piotr S. Kowalski, Daniel G. Anderson, Chad V. Pecot, Salma H. Azam, Joel S. Parker, Yihsuan S. Tsai, Alisa S. Wolberg, Stephen D. Turner, Kohei Tatsumi, Nigel Mackman and Dudley. Anderson disclosed that he has a patent related to the work.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, including grants RO1-CA177874 and P30-CA14051; the American Cancer Society, grant 129755-RSG-16-176-01-DDC; and an AACR-Bayer Innovation and Discovery Grant, 17-80-44-DUDL. In addition, the work was partially supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, grant W81XWH-08-2-0034.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

Josh Barney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI123106

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A new approach to targeting cancer cells
20.05.2019 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Radioisotope couple for tumor diagnosis and therapy
14.05.2019 | Kanazawa University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Synthesis of helical ladder polymers

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Ultra-thin superlattices from gold nanoparticles for nanophotonics

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Chaperones keep the tumor suppressor protein p53 in check: How molecular escorts help prevent cancer

21.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>