Novel approach scores first success against elusive cancer gene
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have successfully disrupted the function of a cancer gene involved in the formation of most human tumors by tampering with the gene's "on" switch and growth signals, rather than targeting the gene itself. The results, achieved in multiple myeloma cells, offer a promising strategy for treating not only myeloma but also many other cancer types driven by the gene MYC, the study authors say. Their findings are being published by the journal Cell on its website Sept. 1 and in its Sept. 16 print edition.
"Cancer is a disease of disregulation of growth genes in a cell, and MYC is a master regulator of these genes," says James E. Bradner, MD, of Dana-Farber, one of the study's senior authors. Previous attempts to shut down MYC by inhibiting it directly with drug molecules have been notably unsuccessful. "In this study, our idea was to switch MYC off, interfering with its ability to activate the cell-growth program."
They did so with a small molecule called JQ1, developed by Dana-Farber's Jun Qi, PhD, a co-author of the new study and namesake of JQ1. In multiple myeloma, MYC is hyperactive constantly ordering cells to grow and divide because it is in the wrong position in the cells' chromosomes. Instead of its normal, quiet neighborhood, MYC finds itself adjacent to a gene known as the immunoglobulin gene. This busy gene is switched on by bits of DNA known as immunoglobulin enhancers, which normally prompt the cell to begin producing disease-fighting antibodies. In myeloma, the immunoglobulin enhancers act on the out-of-place MYC gene like an impatient finger at a doorbell, repeatedly activating it.
Researchers found that the enhancers are loaded with a "bromodomain" protein called BRD4, which, they demonstrate, is used to switch on MYC. Conveniently, it is targeted by JQ1. When investigators added JQ1 to laboratory samples of myeloma cells, the bromodomain proteins fell off the enhancers and the enhancers abruptly stopped working. The result: a shutdown of MYC and a slowdown of cancer cell division.
"In a sense, the JQ1 molecule cuts the cable that activates MYC and also connects MYC to the cell-growth genes," Bradner says. "The signal is interrupted and growth abruptly stops."
When investigators administered JQ1 to laboratory mice harboring myeloma cells, the disease receded and the animals lived longer than those that had not been treated. The study authors emphasize that JQ1 is a protytpe drug and cannot be used immediately to treat myeloma or other cancers. Its success in the current study illuminates the promise of JQ1-based therapies that target bromodomain proteins in cancers dependent on MYC for their growth.
"Together, our findings show that BRD4 has an important role in maintaining MYC activity in myeloma and other blood-related malignancies," says the study's senior author, Constantine Mitsiades, MD, of Dana-Farber. "They also point to the potential usefulness of drug-like bromodomain inhibitors as novel therapies against these diseases."
Provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Stopping ovarian cancer by blocking proteins coded by notorious gene Dec 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers create first molecule blocks key component of cancer genes' on-off switch Sep 24, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Cancer-causing gene discovery suggests new therapies Jan 24, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Silencing small but mighty cancer inhibitors Dec 10, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers zero in on the tiniest members in the war on cancer Dec 13, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
Cancer 10 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
Cancer May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
Cancer May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 1
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
Cancer May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(HealthDay)—Concurrent use of two immune checkpoint antibodies—ipilimumab and nivolumab—may be effective for the treatment of advanced melanoma, according to a proof-of-principal study presented in ...
Cancer May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot ...
17 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were more effective at protecting against pertussis than acellular pertussis vaccines during a large recent outbreak, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics.
4 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Touted for safety, ease and patient convenience, peripherally inserted central catheters have become many clinicians' go-to for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications.
26 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
13 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |