Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Close To Finding Gene That Controls Growth Of Lung Cancer

Date:
November 17, 1997
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
In what may move scientists a step closer to locating a gene that helps control the growth of lung cancer, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found in a new study that fragments of a portion of a human chromosome slow tumor growth in mice and in cell cultures.

DURHAM, N.C. -- In what may move scientists a step closer to locating a gene that helps control the growth of lung cancer, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found in a new study that fragments of a portion of a human chromosome slow tumor growth in mice and in cell cultures.

Related Articles


The strand of DNA that was the focus of the study was chromosome 11. The researchers said they believe a specific section of that chromosome contains a tumor suppressor gene that controls the spread of lung cancer.

The finding was published in the September/October issue of the international journal Anticancer Research.

"Whatever is in this region on chromosome 11 is able to change the growth and morphology of already formed cancers, and that's an important aspect of this study," said Dr. Gerold Bepler, associate professor of medicine at Duke and senior author of the report. "It means that, whatever is broken in that system, if you repair it, you may be able to change the biologic behavior of the existing cancers."

About 177,000 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, making it the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the nation. More people die each year of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined, and annual treatment costs amount to about $5 billion, according to the American Cancer Society.

The research was supported by grants from the Jimmy V Foundation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the National Cancer Institute.

Bepler began looking at chromosome 11 as a possible location for a gene or genes that cause lung cancer several years ago. He and his colleagues had found that a large percentage of patients were missing a portion of chromosome 11. This region is called LOH11A and is associated with the spread of tumor cells. Therefore, he said, that segment of chromosome 11 probably contains a gene that controls the aggressiveness of lung cancer.

The scientists were looking for tumor suppressor genes, which play a key role in whether a patient gets cancer. Tumor suppressor genes are normal genes that act to inhibit the formation of cancerous cells, but if the genes become mutated and are unable to do their job, there is nothing to stop the tumor from growing.

In this study, the researchers took a normal segment from the LOH11A region and inserted it into tumors that were then studied in mice and in liquid cell cultures in laboratory dishes.

They found that half of the tumors did not grow at all, and half demonstrated greatly suppressed growth. They used chromosome 12 as a control, since it has not been implicated in lung cancer, and found that the tumors injected with the control chromosome grew at the usual rate. As a result, they believe that a tumor suppressor gene may be within the LOH11A region of chromosome 11.

Bepler, who also serves as chief of hematology/oncology services at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, said the discovery "provides further confirmation that a tumor suppressor gene is located in LOH11A on chromosome 11. If you put this piece of chromosome 11 back into a cancer cell line, it grows much more slowly, if at all."

He said the study is "an entirely different approach" to finding the tumor suppressor gene that causes lung cancer than previously taken by his group. In the past, the researchers focused on DNA at the molecular level, whereas the new study takes a biological approach, looking at the tumors themselves.

Bepler and his colleagues hope their work could eventually lead to new treatments for lung cancer patients after further study and refinement. The pieces of chromosome used in this study are too large to insert into tumors in patients, he said. That's why it's important to find the gene itself, which is small enough to be injected into the tumor cells without being rejected.

Currently, lung cancer is treated with surgery in the early stages, or surgery combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy in the advanced stages. About 75 percent of patients who have surgery in the early stages will eventually have recurrent disease. The five-year survival rate for all stages is 14 percent. Symptoms often do not appear until the disease has advanced, so early detection is difficult.

Bepler said the next step is to find the tumor suppressor gene, and his team continues to search for a gene or genes responsible for the disease.

Other authors of the paper were Kathy O'Briant, Ethel Jolicoeur, Jennifer Garst, Mike Campa, and Gilbert Schreiber, all of Duke.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Scientists Close To Finding Gene That Controls Growth Of Lung Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971117064714.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (1997, November 17). Scientists Close To Finding Gene That Controls Growth Of Lung Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971117064714.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Scientists Close To Finding Gene That Controls Growth Of Lung Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971117064714.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins