“Zinc plays a critical role in our bodies functioning properly,” said Dr. Min Li, assistant professor of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at BCM, and lead author of the study. “Zinc must be regulated through proteins called zinc transporters to keep us healthy.”
A previous study by one of Li’s collaborators, Dr. Craig Logsdon, professor and Lockton Distinguished Professor for Pancreatic Cancer Research at M.D. Anderson, identified high levels of ZIP4 in pancreatic cancer tissue. Li’s current study confirmed those findings and also showed that overexpressed ZIP4 increases zinc uptake by the cell, which results in significantly increased tumor growth.
“We need to put these in a big picture and look at the zinc and zinc transporters as a whole in regulating pancreatic cancer growth. There is no simple answer at this point on the role zinc itself is playing,” said Li.
“This study shows strong evidence that the zinc transporter is over expressed in pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Changyi (Johnny) Chen, Molecular Surgery Endowed Chair, professor of surgery and vice chair for research in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at BCM. “Our next step for research will ask why this happens in pancreatic cancer.”
Results showed that 16 of the 17 pancreatic cancer specimens and seven of the eight cell lines grown in the laboratory had higher levels of ZIP4 than healthy tissues and normal pancreatic ductal cells. Researchers then introduced ZIP4 protein into the one pancreatic cancer cell line that did not already over express the molecule. Compared to the original line, the new cells accumulated 73 percent more zinc and significantly increased tumor growth.
This is the first comprehensive study to focus on pancreatic cancer and zinc transporters which has not been previously described. More research is needed before doctors know if limiting or targeting zinc or ZIP4 would affect the progression of pancreatic cancer.
“This study has tremendous impact on pancreatic cancer research because it not only suggests a novel diagnostic marker, but also indicates a candidate for cancer vaccine development” said Dr. Qizhi (Cathy) Yao, professor of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery and molecular virology & microbiology at BCM.
“Identifying this molecule as being related to tumor growth opens up a door for us, “said Logsdon. “Our hope is that this will lead to a target for new treatments and therapies.”
Graciela Gutierrez | EurekAlert!
Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool
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...
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...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
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...
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...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding