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

Researchers unravel novel mechanism by which tumors grow resistant to radiotherapy

November 23, 2017
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a key mechanism by which tumors develop resistance to radiation therapy and shown how such resistance might be overcome with drugs that are currently under development. The discovery ...

African Americans face highest risk for multiple myeloma yet underrepresented in research

November 23, 2017
Though African-American men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, most scientific research on the disease has been based on people of European descent, according to a study ...

Encouraging oxygen's assault on iron may offer new way to kill lung cancer cells

November 22, 2017
Blocking the action of a key protein frees oxygen to damage iron-dependent proteins in lung and breast cancer cells, slowing their growth and making them easier to kill. This is the implication of a study led by researchers ...

One-size treatment for blood cancer probably doesn't fit all, researchers say

November 22, 2017
Though African-American men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, most scientific research on the disease has been based on people of European descent, according to a study ...

One in four U.S. seniors with cancer has had it before

November 22, 2017
(HealthDay)—For a quarter of American seniors, a cancer diagnosis signals the return of an old foe, new research shows.

Combination immunotherapy targets cancer resistance

November 22, 2017
Cancer immunotherapy drugs have had notable but limited success because in many cases, tumors develop resistance to treatment. But researchers at Yale and Stanford have identified an experimental antibody that overcomes this ...

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.