Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research identifies a promising new therapeutic target for aggressive breast cancer

01.08.2012
Scientists at Western University have identified a new therapeutic target for advanced breast cancer which has shown tremendous promise in mouse models.

The study led by Lynne-Marie Postovit of Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry looked at a protein called Nodal that is primarily found in embryonic or stem cells. Postovit discovered high levels of this protein in aggressive breast cancer tumors. Nodal was found to promote vascularization in the tumor, providing nutrients and oxygen to help it grow and spread. The research is published online in the journal Cancer Research.

"We have determined that breast cancers, specifically those very aggressive, invasive breast cancers that spread, express an embryonic protein called Nodal and the expression of this protein is correlated with more blood vessels in the tumor. Blood vessels, many studies have shown, help to allow tumors to grow but also to spread throughout the body," says Postovit of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. "In addition, we have shown that if we can target this embryonic protein, we can cause the blood vessels to collapse within the tumor, leading to decreased oxygen levels and tumor cell death. When tumors lack oxygen and nutrients they become what we call necrotic."

In the study, mouse models were designed to develop breast cancer tumors. Then, using a genetic modification, the researchers turned off the expression of Nodal. When they did that, the blood vessels in the tumor appeared to collapse, and the tumor was less aggressive. Nodal is on the outside of the cell, so it can be easily targeted by a number of mechanisms including antibodies. And because Nodal isn't expressed in normal tissue in the body, it would be possible to target just the cancer, allowing for better patient outcomes.

"Ultimately it would be nice to target Nodal in patients who already have quite advanced, well-vascularized tumors as a new option for therapy," says Daniela Quail, first author on the research and a PhD candidate in the Postovit lab. "Currently, patients like this don't have many options."

"In Canada, breast cancer continues to be one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Although new treatment methods have improved outcomes, a significant number of women still die from this disease", says Dr. Morag Park, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "Research advancements, such as Dr. Postovit's, have contributed and will continue to contribute to the improvements around our understanding of cancer progression and treatment. I congratulate Dr. Postovit and the team on this advancement and its significant contribution to this field."

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Cancer Research Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Media contact: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca

Jeff Renaud | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uwo.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht UTMB researchers have discovered a new antiviral mechanism for dengue therapeutics
14.07.2020 | University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

nachricht Scientists use nanoparticle-delivered gene therapy to inhibit blinding eye disease in rodents
08.07.2020 | 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: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

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

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New substance library to accelerate the search for active compounds

14.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Green is more than skin-deep for hundreds of frog species

14.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Uncovering the architecture of natural photosynthetic machinery

14.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>