Researchers uncover new clues about the origin of cancer
Different types of tumor arise, depending on the mutation of certain proteins involved in DNA damage response, cell cycle check-points and apoptosis. Credit: Travis H. Stracker (IRB Barcelona)
A study by Travis H. Stracker, researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with scientists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, reveals new information about the origin of tumors.
In this study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the scientists postulate that the initiation of a tumor and the type and aggressivity of the same depend on a specific combination of defects in several processes that safeguard cell integrity, such as DNA repair pathways and cell cycle check-points. The study also demonstrates that mice with a high degree of chromosomal instability and defective programmed cell death (apoptosis), two hallmarks of cancer, rarely develop tumors.
"Whether or not a tumor develops depends on the moment of the cell cycle in which the damage occurs, which repair pathways components are affected, and which others are impaired in terms of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest", explains the North-American Travis H. Stracker, head of the "Genomic Instability and Cancer" group and an expert in DNA repair pathways and its implications on human health. In this study, H. Stracker and his team report on some of these combinations for the initiation of cancer and in different kinds of tissue. "The paper points out that our understanding of which aspects of damage response promote tumorigenesis and where they play a role in the process needs to be investigated further because it shows that it has been generalized and that there is a lot of specifics that are not at all clear."
Different types of tumor arise, depending on the mutation of certain proteins involved in DNA damage response, cell cycle check-points and apoptosis. Credit: Travis H. Stracker (IRB Barcelona)The researchers utilized mice carrying mutations in key DNA repair genes involved in cancer. Next, they combined them with other mutations affecting cell cycle checkpoints or apoptosis until they hit upon the combinations that are sufficient to initiate tumorigenesis or to generate certain types of tumors. "It is like deconstructing cancer to find the factors responsible for it appearing", says H. Stracker.
During DNA replication in a dividing cell there is a series of checkpoints to test that duplication is taking place properly. If the cell detects errors in any of these phases, cell growth is halted and highly complex DNA repair processes are triggered. If the repair is defective and the cell accumulates many genomic errors, "watch-out" proteins step in, such as tumor suppressor p53. Such proteins activate programmed cell death (apoptosis) or cell cycle arrest (senescence). "A very complex network of pathways and proteins are involved", explains the researcher. "This study demonstrates that genomic instability per se is not sufficient to initiate a tumor and that we cannot generalize. We need to study the origin of different kinds of cancer in much greater depth and although it is as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack, we are slowly identifying the parts on which we should focus", he goes on to explain. The detection of the main players that cause different kinds of cancer could be of great interest for the design of new diagnostic tools and specific treatments.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Researchers find how a common genetic mutation makes cancer radiation resistant Jun 10, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Why cancer drugs lose their power: Platinum-based cancer drugs destroy tumor cells by binding to DNA strands Apr 14, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists find guardian gene's choices crucial to stopping cancer process Jan 08, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Preventing cancer without killing cells Mar 30, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- 2 heads are better than 1: 2 dysfunctional DNA repair pathways kill tumor cells Apr 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
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
16 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
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...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened since 1985 and efforts to reduce this gap should focus on improving physical health, suggest researchers in a paper ...
Cancer 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
By studying the roles two proteins, thrombospondin-1 and prosaposin, play in discouraging cancer metastasis, a trans-Atlantic research team has identified a five-amino acid fragment of prosaposin that significantly reduces ...
Cancer 6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A novel transcriptome-based classification of colon cancer that improves the current disease stratification based on clinicopathological variables and common DNA markers is presented in a study published in PLOS Medicine this w ...
Cancer 6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A study of veterans at high risk for developing lung cancer shows that low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can be highly effective in helping clinicians spot tiny lung nodules which, in a small number of patients, may indicate ...
Cancer 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
An attack on glioblastoma brain tumor cells that uses a modified poliovirus is showing encouraging results in an early study to establish the proper dose level, researchers at Duke Cancer Institute report.
Cancer 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
12 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
10 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
5 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
12 hours ago | 4.4 / 5 (5) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |