Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Target for new lung cancer therapy found in embryonic cell pathway

06.03.2003


New work by researchers in the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins may allow them to halt the smoking-induced cellular events that lead to 99 percent of all small cell lung cancers (SCLC). The research is reported in the March 5, 2003, issue of Nature.



The researchers found that a primitive cellular pathway, called Sonic Hedgehog (named for the cartoon character and spiky hairs it develops on fruit flies) stays turned on long after it should be turned off in some lung cancers.

"We believe chronic injury to the lungs by cigarette smoking re-activates genes in the Hedgehog pathway to repair cell damage in the lining of the lungs. The ongoing and regular assault to the lungs by cigarettes causes the usually dormant pathway to be stuck in activation mode making too many new cells, ultimately resulting in cancer," says Neil Watkins, Ph.D., research associate at the Kimmel Cancer Center and lead author of the study.


The Sonic Hedgehog pathway has been well studied for its role in the development of mammalian embryonic cells, and more recently, for its relationship to cancer. Now, Kimmel Cancer Center investigators are testing drugs on mice, including one called cyclopamine, that block the Hedgehog pathway. Human clinical trials are not planned at this time and may be three to four years away.

The scientists analyzed tissue samples and tumor cell lines from SCLC and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Of ten SCLC tissue samples studied, half showed activation of the Hedgehog pathway and increased expression of one of its targets called the Gli1 gene. They confirmed these findings by looking at SCLC cell lines in which five of seven lines examined showed similar activation of the Hedgehog pathway and Gli1 gene. Limited activation of the pathway was found in NSCLC.

"This study represents one of the first attempts to therapeutically manipulate this cell pathway, and it’s a perfect example of how basic developmental science can have clinical implications in a relatively short period of time," says Stephen B. Baylin, M.D., Ludwig professor of oncology and director of research at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer. Close to 172,000 cases are diagnosed each year. Unresponsive to standard therapy, SCLC is the most lethal form of lung cancer. It typically cannot be treated with surgery and though it initially responds to chemotherapy, most patients relapse. "As cigarette smoking persists among young people, we expect to be dealing with this disease for years to come. As a result, the search for potential new therapies are key to controlling this disease," says Watkins.

In addition to Watkins and Baylin, other Johns Hopkins participants in this research include David Berman, Scott G. Burkholder, Baolin Wang, and Philip Beachy.



The research was funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and a National Cancer Institute lung cancer SPORE (Specialized Projects of Research Excellence).

Under a licensing agreement between the Johns Hopkins University and Curis, Inc., Dr. Beachy is entitled to a share of royalty received by the University from sales of products related to the research described in this press release. The University and Dr. Beachy own Curis, Inc. stock, the sale of which is subject to certain restrictions. The terms of this arrangement are being managed by the University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta 410-955-1287
Email: wastava@jhmi.edu

Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hopkinskimmelcancercenter.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill 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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>