Scientists develop mouse model that could lead to new therapies for liver cancer

July 6, 2012

Researchers have created the first mouse model demonstrating the role of a cancer promoting gene, Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), in hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. The mouse model represents a critical step in understanding the molecular mechanisms of liver cancer progression and could lead to novel therapies for the disease.

Insights from the mouse model were recently published in the by a team of researchers led by Devanand Sarkar, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., Harrison Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center, Blick Scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and member of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) at VCU School of Medicine. AEG-1 was originally cloned in the lab of the study's co-author, Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Oncology Research and program co-leader of Cancer Molecular Genetics at Massey, professor and chair of the Department of Human and and director of VIMM.

"My colleagues and I have been researching the role of AEG-1 in for several years and have shown it is linked to a diverse array of cancers, including liver cancer," says Sarkar. "This mouse model represents a breakthrough in our ability to test and translate our laboratory findings."

The mouse model gave the researchers a deeper understanding of the role of AEG-1 in liver cancer. Sarkar and his team confirmed AEG-1 overexpression significantly accelerated the progression of liver cancer. It also caused steatosis, or fatty liver, a mechanism that promotes inflammation and cancer progression. In addition, the mouse model substantiated laboratory findings that suggested that AEG-1 plays a role in protecting liver from and alters , or the way that new blood vessels are formed within the tumor.

The researchers plan to use the model to further explore the molecular mechanisms by which AEG-1 promotes liver cancer, including the role of AEG-1 in fat metabolism and obesity-related diseases.

"This model moves us forward in the research process by allowing us to test a variety of compounds that could inhibit AEG-1 and prevent the development and progression of liver cancer," says Sarkar. "Ultimately, we hope our efforts will lead to new therapies and save lives."

More information: The full manuscript of this study is available online at: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.25868/pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers develop test that can diagnose two cancer types

December 12, 2017
A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Cancer-causing mutation suppresses immune system around tumours

December 12, 2017
Mutations in 'Ras' genes, which drive 25% of human cancers by causing tumour cells to grow, multiply and spread, can also protect cancer cells from the immune system, finds a new study from the Francis Crick Institute and ...

Drug suppresses spread of breast cancer caused by stem-like cells

December 12, 2017
Rare stem-like tumor cells play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer, but a vulnerability in the pathway that powers them offers a strategy to target these cells using existing drugs before metastatic disease occurs, ...

MRI scans predict patients' ability to fight the spread of cancer

December 12, 2017
A simple, non-invasive procedure that can indicate how long patients with cancer that has spread to the brain might survive and whether they are likely to respond to immunotherapy has been developed by researchers in Liverpool.

Insights on how SHARPIN promotes cancer progression

December 11, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery (SBP) and the Technion in Israel have found a new role for the SHARPIN protein. In addition to being one of three proteins in the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex ...

Glioblastoma survival mechanism reveals new therapeutic target

December 11, 2017
A Northwestern Medicine study, published in the journal Cancer Cell, has provided new insights into a mechanism of tumor survival in glioblastoma and demonstrated that inhibiting the process could enhance the effects of radiation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.