How heat helps to treat cancer

August 8, 2012

Research at Bangor University has identified a switch in cells that may help to kill tumors with heat. Prostate cancer and other localized tumors can be effectively treated by a combination of heat and an anti-cancer drug that damages the genes. Behind this novel therapy is the enigmatic ability of heat to switch off essential survival mechanisms in human cells. Although thermotherapy is now more widely used, the underlying principles are still unclear.

In a recent publication in the researchers based in the School of Biological Sciences report now that heat modulates these survival systems by promoting the production of a novel protein. Intriguingly, this protein is only produced when elevated temperatures activate a gene that hides inside another gene.

The leader of the group, Dr Thomas Caspari says: "The discovery is reminiscent of a Russian doll were a set of smaller wooden figures is placed inside a larger doll. The existence of such hidden genes may explain why the human genome has a much smaller number of genes than initially expected. Our work may also help to improve heat-treatment of cancer for the benefit of patients. This research success was a real team effort made possible by the generous funding from Cancer Research Wales and the European Leonardo DaVinci Program."

Explore further: Protein 'switches' could turn cancer cells into tiny chemotherapy factories

More information: http://jcs.biologists.org/content/early/2012/07/10/jcs.104075.abstract

Related Stories

Protein 'switches' could turn cancer cells into tiny chemotherapy factories

September 23, 2011
Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a protein "switch" that instructs cancer cells to produce their own anti-cancer medication.

Heat-shock factor reveals its unique role in supporting highly malignant cancers

August 2, 2012
Whitehead Institute researchers have found that increased expression of a specific set of genes is strongly associated with metastasis and death in patients with breast, colon, and lung cancers. Not only could this finding ...

Researchers discover biomarkers for prostate cancer detection, recurrence

May 14, 2012
Alterations to the "on-off" switches of genes occur early in the development of prostate cancer and could be used as biomarkers to detect the disease months or even years earlier than current approaches, a Mayo Clinic study ...

Scientists identify new mechanism of prostate cancer cell metabolism

March 22, 2012
Cancer cell metabolism may present a new target for therapy as scientists have uncovered a possible gene that leads to greater growth of prostate cancer cells.

Recommended for you

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

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.