Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UNC-CH Researchers Discover Key Cancer Control Mechanism

Date:
March 25, 1998
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
A gene called ARF attaches to and disables a protein known as MDM2 and in the process helps protect the body against cancer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine researchers have discovered.

CHAPEL HILL -- A gene called ARF attaches to and disables a protein known as MDM2 and in the process helps protect the body against cancer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine researchers have discovered.

The mechanism appears to be one of the most potent natural ways of fighting tumor development, the scientists say. After more research, it might be manipulated to treat cancer more successfully or detect it earlier.

"While this work is not a cure for cancer, it is very important for several reasons," said Dr. Yue Xiong, assistant professor of biochemistry at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. "First, it provides a mechanism by which ARF suppresses tumor growth. It also may explain why a certain genetic locus, or site on a chromosome, is frequently missing in human cancer." A report on the discovery appears in the current (March 20) issue of Cell, a scientific journal. Besides Xiong (pronounced "Jong"), authors are Dr. Yanping Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at the Lineberger center, and Dr. Wendell G. Yarbrough, assistant professor of surgery.

In human cancers, a gene known as P53 is mutated in about 50 percent of cases, Xiong said. The ARF gene is missing in about 40 percent.

"When activated, both these genes suppress tumors. When they are absent or damaged, we have a much greater chance of developing tumors," he said.

Soon after the body detects damage to DNA that might lead to cancer, normally low levels of P53 skyrocket and halt cell proliferation similar to how a fire extinguisher smothers a blaze, Xiong said. Healthy cells keep P53 in check when it is not needed by degrading it with the MDM2 protein.

"When DNA is damaged, MDM2 must be decreased to allow the protective P53 to increase," he said. "If cells get too much MDM2, that will reduce P53 even in case of damage that might cause cancer."

MDM2, which researchers call a proto-oncogene, is amplified, for example, in almost half of sarcomas, a cancer of bones, blood vessels and other tissues. A proto-oncogene is a gene all humans carry that results in cancer if it is altered in certain ways.

In complicated experiments involving both yeast and human genes, the UNC-CH researchers found the ARF gene physically binds to MDM2 and destroys it.

"When DNA is damaged, ARF degrades MDM2 to allow P53 to accumulate," Xiong said. "However, when ARF is deleted, which happens in about 40 percent of human cancers, it can't stop the MDM2 from degrading P53. Then there's not enough P53 to fight tumors."

On a one-to-10 scale, Yarbrough said he thought the new finding rated a 10. He is interested in the research because he performs surgery on head- and neck-cancer patients.

"The fact that one gene makes two products that control two major tumor suppressers I think has some potentially huge implications for cancer development and possibly future treatments," the surgeon said. "It looks like this is going to evolve into a pretty big deal."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Researchers Discover Key Cancer Control Mechanism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980325074636.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1998, March 25). UNC-CH Researchers Discover Key Cancer Control Mechanism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980325074636.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Researchers Discover Key Cancer Control Mechanism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980325074636.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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