Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Received Truth Turned On End In Cancer Research

06.04.2004


It has long been the accepted view of cancer researchers that there is a difference between the mechanism behind the development of leukemias, on the one hand, and solid tumors like breast cancer, prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, etc, on the other. A research team at the Section for Clinical Genetics at Lund University in Sweden is now claiming just the opposite: the same mechanism gives rise to all non-hereditary forms of cancer. These findings are being published in Nature Genetics.



A well-known mechanism for the development of cancer is that the chromosomes in a cell break apart and then recombine in an incorrect way. At the points of fissure, gene fragments are exposed that can recombine with so-called fusion genes, yielding fusion proteins. Leukemias--blood cancer--normally develop from cells that contain such fusion proteins. It is not known how this occurs in detail, but in some way the fusion proteins prompt formerly normal cells to transform into cancer cells. On the other hand, solid tumors, which make up the majority of all cancer cases, have been seen as developing as a result of certain cells losing the inhibiting mechanism in the form of so-called tumor suppressor genes that keep tumors from arising.

“This is no doubt correct in regard to hereditary cancer. But hereditary cancer accounts for only 5-10 percent of all cancer cases. We now maintain that all of the others have the same developmental mechanisms. In non-hereditary cancer forms it is the occurrence of fusion genes and not the lack of tumor suppressor genes that is essential,” says Professor Felix Mitelman.


Mitelman and his associates Bertil Johansson and Fredrik Mertens have gathered information about aberrant chromosomes in cancer for years. In 1997 Nature Genetics devoted an entire issue to the large material the Lund team had compiled, something that has only happened on one other occasion (when the human genome was presented). This material is now available as a large and constantly growing database in the so-called Cancer Genome Anatomy Project at the US National Cancer Institute, called the Mitelman Database of Chromosome Aberrations in Cancer.

In leukemia cells it is rather easy to find fusion genes and fusion proteins. For technical reasons, this is much more difficult in solid tumors.

“And if you haven’t seen them, you assume that they’re not there. But what has been lacking is appropriate methods of examination,” claims Felix Mitelman.

The research team has found that the number of fusion genes in solid tumors stands in the same proportion to the number of patient cases examined with leukemias. This shows that the same mechanisms are involved: the chance of this match being coincidental is less than 0.0001.

The good thing about this discovery is that it should lead to more effective treatment of the major cancer forms. For one type of leukemia, at any rate, there is a medicine that specifically targets the active fusion protein, and it is both effective and mild.

The downside is that there are probably a very great number of different fusion genes behind the major forms of cancer. Each transformation of genes is found in just a few patients.

“Small groups of patients are not of interest to pharmaceutical companies. On the other hand, it may be that several fusion proteins have common traits that make it possible to use the same drug to combat them,” hopes Felix Mitelman.

The fact that his research team have now turned on end an established truth does not mean that other ongoing research on the significance of genetic factors in the emergence of cancer has also been overturned, he emphasizes. Much of this research is about the long road from the first cancer cell to a full-blown tumor, and in this process tumor suppressor genes are probably of great importance. What the Lund team has done is to provide a revolutionary new picture of how this very first cancer cell arises.

Ingela Björck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lu.se/info/pm/698_pressm.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht When added to gene therapy, plant-based compound may enable faster, more effective treatments
18.10.2019 | Scripps Research Institute

nachricht Diabetes: A next-generation therapy soon available?
17.10.2019 | Université de Genève

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: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Energy Flow in the Nano Range

18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

MR-compatible Ultrasound System for the Therapeutic Application of Ultrasound

18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering

Double layer of graphene helps to control spin currents

18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>