Molecular link between diabetes and cancer described
Developing type 2 diabetes is a lengthy process. An early sign that it has begun is high levels of insulin in the blood. As long as the insulin-producing beta cells are able to compensate for the increased demand, for example when the individual is overweight, the blood sugar levels remain normal. It is not until the capacity for insulin secretion falls below the level needed that type 2 diabetes becomes a fact. The latter stage generally goes quickly, as the stressed beta cells work themselves to death.
"We have worked with the most well-known risk gene for type 2 diabetes, a variant of the TCF gene, and have studied its function in the beta cells", says Yuedan Zhou, a doctoral student at the Lund University Diabetes Centre and principal author of the published study.
The risk variant of TCF is common, 25 per cent of the population carry it and 31 per cent of diabetics, according to figures from the Malmö Preventive Project population survey.
An equally well-established risk gene in cancer research is p53. The gene has been called the "protector of the genome" because it prevents the uncontrolled cell division that takes place in cancer. The p53 gene has been linked to protection against colon and liver cancer, among others.
"The function of the TCF gene in the beta cells is to protect the cells against high, stressful blood sugar levels. If that function fails, the beta cells die, which leads to diabetes", says Ola Hansson, researcher and principal author of the survey.
The two genes work in concert, TCF protects against cell death, while p53 prevents excessive cell division.
"It is here that the connection between diabetes and cancer arises. When the blood sugar levels are high, the TCF gene is activated and this impedes the activity of the p53 gene thereby protecting the beta cells from cell death" .
The research group began working with the TCF gene two years ago to understand its role in insulin production. The discovery of the link with p53 and cancer was mostly by chance.
"Or good intuition", they say.
The mapping of the TCF gene is continuing, this time in collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge.
Cancer researchers are working to try and influence p53 so that its tumour-preventing function is restored.
"In a similar way, strengthening the protective function of TCF against beta cell death in connection with high blood sugar would work as a drug for type 2 diabetes, or as a treatment before the disease has even developed fully", says Ola Hansson.
More information: 'Survival of pancreatic beta cells is partly controlled by a TCF7L2-p53-p53INP1-dependent pathway'. The study was published in the scientific journal Human Molecular Genetics.
Journal reference: Human Molecular Genetics
Provided by Lund University
- Researchers discover mechanism of insulin production that can lead to better treatment for diabetes Nov 12, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Connexins: Providing protection to cells destroyed in Type 1 diabetes Nov 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Gene therapy reverses type 1 diabetes in mice Jun 21, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers discover mechanism that could convert certain cells into insulin-making cells Apr 29, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Impaired fat-burning gene worsens diabetes Feb 07, 2008 | 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
22 hours ago 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
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
1 hour ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
52 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
42 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 ...
32 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |