Scientists find a trigger to aggressive bowel cancer
A new study reveals that women living in coastal areas and in the Northeast U.S. were more likely than other women to have blood mercury (BHg) concentrations exceeding levels of concern, as reported in the January 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). Women living near coastal areas had 3-4 times greater
Full Post: Blood mercury levels associated with income, ethnicity and coastal areas
CANCER RESEARCH UK scientists have shown how bowel cancer can become aggressive, according to research published in Nature Genetics.
The researchers, based in the Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University and at Cancer Research UK’s Beatson Institute in Glasgow found that a tumour suppressor protein called Pten is critical in stopping tumours from growing in mice. Importantly, they found that when Pten becomes faulty some of these tumours turn aggressive.
The team worked out that when Pten faults coincide with faults in another protein called APC, then a kinase protein called AKT stimulates tumours to become aggressive and they are then more likely to spread. They identified AKT as a strong lead for drug development to target bowel cancer.
Previously scientists thought that faulty Pten was important in the early stages of bowel cancer initiation, but the researchers have found that the situation is far more complex, with faulty Pten a trigger that can act later on tumours to make them aggressive.
The team showed that Pten slows the growth of tumours in mice following the activation of a molecular pathway called WNT. This pathway involves numerous proteins talking to each other to ultimately control cell division. WNT is already known to be the molecular pathway most commonly faulty in bowel tumours.
Cancer is caused by uncontrolled cell growth and division. Identifying the key proteins which control complicated molecular networks inside cells and what happens when these proteins become faulty is fundamental to our understanding how cancer develops.
Professor Alan Clarke, Cancer Research UK’s lead researcher at the Cardiff School of Biosciences, said: “These findings are really interesting. We now know that the protein kinase AKT is a real lead for drug development to target aggressive intestinal cancer, which is something we didn’t properly appreciate before.
“We now have a model of how bowel cancer progresses. Previously scientists only had a very limited idea of how bowel tumours were believed to progress.
“This has given us a clearer picture of how bowel tumours actually grow and provides scientists with crucial information for drug design to slow down or stop the spread of the disease.”
Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, said: “This is a really important piece of science.
“Bowel cancer is one of the most common diseases in the UK and it is much more difficult to treat when it is advanced, so we welcome any research that gives us opportunities for better treatment.”
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered for the first time that stem cells could be the root cause of bowel cancer, according to a study published in Nature. Scientists at Cancer Research UK’s Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, Cardiff University and the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands - isolated stem cells in the
Full Post: Stem cells may ‘ignite’ bowel cancer development
When researchers look inside human cancer cells for the whereabouts of an important tumor-suppressor, they often catch the protein playing hooky, lolling around in cellular broth instead of muscling its way out to the cells’ membranes and foiling cancer growth. This phenomenon of delinquency puzzled scientists for a long time - until a cell biologist
Full Post: Scientists genetically grab PTEN by the tail to curtail cancer
Scientists have uncovered vital clues about how to treat serious bowel disorders by studying the behaviour of cells in the colon. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe a chemical messenger that is essential for developing a baby’s gut in the womb could hold the key to new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a
Full Post: Study sheds light on inflammatory bowel disease
CANCER RESEARCH UK scientists have linked cancer clues in faulty cells to provide a new route to cancer development, reveals a study published in Developmental Cell. Cancer is a disease caused by uncontrolled cell growth and division and understanding the complex molecular networks inside cells which regulate these processes is fundamental to understanding what goes
Full Post: Scientists establish completely new route to cancer development
Tamoxifen may worsen breast cancer in a small subset of patients. Research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Breast Cancer Research suggests that in patients who show reduced or absent expression of the protein E-cadherin, commonly used anti-oestrogen drugs such as tamoxifen may promote more harmful cancer cell behaviour. A team of researchers co-ordinated
Full Post: Anti-oestrogen drugs may promote more harmful cancer cell behaviour