Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers map new path to colon cancer therapy

16.12.2008
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have identified a promising new target in the battle against colorectal cancer — a biochemical pathway critical to the spread of tumors to new locations in the body.

If this "survival pathway" can be successfully blocked under clinical conditions, the result would be a much-needed new therapy for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

The researchers' findings, published online the week of December 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focus on an enzyme known as Akt2, which is often also found at high levels in association with prostate, ovarian, breast and pancreatic cancers.

Drawing on data from human colorectal cancer tissue samples, athymic "nude" mouse experiments and cell-culture studies and probing enzyme interactions with small interfering RNA, the scientists determined that Akt2 was critical to the survival of colorectal cancer cells in the late stages of the dangerous process of metastasis— the development of secondary tumors at a distance from a primary tumor. At the same time, they also mapped the enzyme's interactions with other important proteins involved in colorectal cancer metastasis, laying the groundwork for the development of new therapies to stop the cancer's spread.

"Metastasis is a really complicated process," said Dr. Piotr G. Rychahou, lead author of the paper and an instructor in the UTMB department of surgery. "Through a complex cascade of events, cancer cells escape from the original tumor and invade surrounding tissues until they reach a blood or lymphatic vessel. Next, they cross the wall of the vessel and enter the circulation in order to reach a target organ—again crossing through the vessel wall —and grow into secondary tumors that we actually detect in patients. To survive this hazardous solo journey, invade a foreign organ and proliferate there, cancer cells need support from intracellular survival pathways. Akt2 is part of the PI3-kinase / Akt pathway, one of the strongest pro-survival signaling pathways."

Rychahou and his colleagues, including senior author and director of the UTMB Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology Dr. B. Mark Evers, suspected from previous work that Akt2 was significant in colorectal cancer metastasis. To profile the enzyme's involvement in metastasis, they started at the end of the metastatic road: examining tumor samples from patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and confirming that high levels of the enzyme were present.

Next, they conducted a series of experiments with athymic "nude" mice (mice bred to lack an immune response), injecting them with different colorectal cancer cell lines and using custom-designed siRNA treatments to decrease and increase the activity of Akt2, its relative Akt1 and the tumor-suppressing protein PTEN.

"When we decreased the Akt2 expression, we found there was really a significant difference," Rychahou said. "Akt2 is essential for the later stages of colon tumor metastasis, but we also found that increased Akt2 alone is not enough for the growth of secondary tumors. For that, you need continuous PI3-kinase pathway stimulation and activation which can occur with absence of PTEN in these tumors."

Discoveries such as these, according to Evers, are "crucial to providing more directed therapies for the treatment of colorectal cancer metastasis based upon inhibition of specific components of the PI3-kinase pathway, thus allowing for a more personalized treatment regimen with potentially fewer side effects"

Marsha Canright | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utmb.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers image atomic structure of important immune regulator
11.12.2018 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Potential seen for tailoring treatment for acute myeloid leukemia
10.12.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW 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: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>