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 Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>