Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Making cancer cells susceptible to therapeutic attack

23.08.2002


A researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine is discovering how a gene known as E1A, found in a virus responsible for the common cold, renders tumor cells vulnerable to destruction.



"By explaining how E1A works, we hope to develop novel strategies to make human immunological defenses against tumors, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, more effective in combating cancer," said Dr. James Cook, chief of infectious diseases and a member of the UIC Cancer Center.

The latest study is published in the July 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


To date, Cook and his colleagues have tested the E1A gene in cancer cells from four species: hamsters, mice, rats and humans. In all four cases, E1A renders the malignancies susceptible to defender cells of the immune system.

"We believe that these observations may reveal a common Achilles heel of many types of cancer cells," Cook said.

According to Cook, the goal is to find ways to make standard treatments for cancer more effective. Although the disease may respond to the first course of chemotherapy or radiation, typically tumor cells become more resistant later on, when the cancer recurs or metastasizes. The reasons are not clear.

Possibly, series of mutations are acquired as the tumor grows, yielding a naturally selected population of cells capable of thwarting killing agents. The standard clinical course is to change the drug or radiation strategy, but that may not be feasible or useful.

As an alternative, based on the studies Cook is undertaking, physicians may one day be able to alter the resistant malignant tissue itself, making it vulnerable to therapy.

"E1A is helping us identify the set of cellular switches that need to be turned on or off to render cancer cells more sensitive to therapeutic injury," Cook said.

In the present study, Cook and his colleagues examined a chain of molecular events that occur when cancer cells are confronted with one of the battery of chemicals produced by the immune system. The laboratory experiment mimicked what happens when a tumor begins to grow and the immune system tries to destroy the malignancy.

The chemical used in the study, called tumor necrosis factor, is manufactured primarily by macrophages, which are among the first cells on the scene in an immune response to tumors. When tumor necrosis factor attaches to receptors on the surface of a malignant cell, preparing the way for a full-scale attack, the cancer cell typically blocks the assault.

But when the E1A gene is inserted in the malignant cells, it shuts down the tumor’s defense mechanism. Cook showed that one key step in foiling the defense occurs when E1A gene products bind to cellular retinoblastoma proteins -- proteins that normally regulate a cell’s life cycle.

The finding suggests that the E1A gene renders malignant cells susceptible to attack not by interfering with their physiological functioning, but by preventing their use of normal cellular machinery to avoid destruction by the body’s immune defenses.

"Multiple molecular mechanisms triggered by E1A prevent tumor cells from thwarting an immunological attack," Cook said. "Further definition of these mechanisms will help us develop new concepts that may be useful for treating cancer, in part by enlisting the body to become a more active partner in fighting the disease."

Sharon Butler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu/
http://www.uic.edu/com/cancer

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Diabetes mellitus: A risk factor for early colorectal cancer
27.05.2020 | Nationales Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT) Heidelberg

nachricht Ultra-thin fibres designed to protect nerves after brain surgery
27.05.2020 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>