Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Pursue Promising New Approach in the Treatment of Liver Cancer

07.03.2012
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or primary cancer of the liver, is the fifth most common cancer worldwide.

Despite the prevalence of this disease, until now there has been no effective, systemic treatment. Thanks to a team of researchers in Boston University’s Departments of Biology and Chemistry, and the Program in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry, that may be about to change.

The BU research team and collaborators recently discovered a promising new protein target for chemotherapy in the treatment of liver cancer—the transcription factor LSF. (Transcription factors are regulatory proteins that bind genomic DNA near the start of genes, either promoting or inhibiting the transcription or copying of the gene.) LSF is found in high levels in the tumor tissue of patients with liver cancer and has been demonstrated to promote the development of cancer (oncogenesis) in studies using laboratory rodents.

Central to their findings, the BU scientists identified small molecules that effectively inhibit LSF cellular activity, which in turn slows the growth of the cancer. In particular, one such molecule, called Factor Quinolinone Inhibitor 1 (FQI1), derived from a lead compound, was found to inhibit the ability of LSF to bind DNA both in extracts (in vitro, as determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assays), and in cells. Consistent with inhibiting LSF activity, FQI1 also eliminates the ability of LSF to turn up transcription. FQI1 also demonstrates antiproliferative activity, or the ability to prevent or retard the growth of cells. While FQI1 quickly causes cell death in LSF-overexpressing cells, including liver cancer cells, healthy cells are unaffected by the treatment. This phenomenon has been called oncogene addiction, where tumor cells are “addicted” to the activity of an oncogenic factor for their survival, but normal cells can do without it. This is very encouraging for use of such compounds clinically.

Quantitative analysis of FQI1 (based on a concordant structure-activity relationship of a panel of 23 quinolinones) strongly suggests that its growth inhibitory activity focuses on a single biological target or family. This focus, coupled with the striking correlation between the concentrations required for antiproliferative activity and for inhibition of LSF transactivation indicates that LSF is that specific biological target of FQI1.

Building on the in vitro trials, the researchers tested the efficacy of FQI1 in inhibiting liver cancer tumor growth by injecting HCC cell lines into rodent models. FQI1 was observed to significantly inhibit tumor growth with no observable side effects (general tissue cytotoxicity). These dramatic findings support the further development of LSF inhibitors as a promising new chemotherapy treatment for liver cancer.

The team’s findings have been published in the article (Antiproliferative small molecule inhibitors of transcription factor LSF reveal oncogene addiction to LSF in hepatocellular carcinoma) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) (www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1121601109). The co-principal investigators are Ulla Hansen, Professor of Biology, and Scott Schaus, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Boston University.

Contributing authors are Trevor J. Grant, Girish Barot, Hang Gyeong Chin, Sarah Woodson, Jennifer Sherman, and Tracy Meehan, Department of Biology, Boston University; Joshua A. Bishop, Lisa M. Christadore, and John Kavouris, Department of Chemistry, Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development at Boston University; Sriharsa Pradhan, New England BioLabs, Inc., Ipswich, MA; Ayesha Siddiq, Rachel Gredler, Xue-Ning Shen, and Devanand Sarkar, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA; Laura A. Briggs and William H. Andrews, Sierra Sciences, LLC, Reno, NV; and Kevin Fitzgerald, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

About Boston University—Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. As Boston University’s largest academic division, the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is the heart of the BU experience with a global reach that enhances the University’s reputation for teaching and research.

Contact information for the authors:

Ulla M. Hansen, Professor
Department of Biology
Boston University
5 Cummington St.
Boston, MA 02215
Office Phone (617) 353-8730
Email uhansen@bu.edu
Website www.bu.edu/biology/people/faculty/hansen/
Scott E. Schaus, Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
Boston University
590 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Office
Phone (617) 353-2489
Email seschaus@bu.edu

Scott E. Schaus | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy
17.09.2019 | University of Helsinki

nachricht Researchers have identified areas of the retina that change in mild Alzheimer's disease
16.09.2019 | Universidad Complutense de Madrid

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: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel mechanism of electron scattering in graphene-like 2D materials

17.09.2019 | Materials Sciences

Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy

17.09.2019 | Health and Medicine

Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms

17.09.2019 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>