Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Move In On Genes Conferring Susceptibility, Resistance To Cancer

Date:
April 6, 2000
Source:
University Of California, San Francisco
Summary:
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have identified genetic regions in mice that confer susceptibility and resistance to a human-like skin cancer, suggesting, they say, that mouse studies may reveal genetic markers of susceptibility and resistance to cancer in humans.

UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have identified genetic regions inmice that confer susceptibility and resistance to a human-like skin cancer,suggesting, they say, that mouse studies may reveal genetic markers ofsusceptibility and resistance to cancer in humans.

The researchers also determined that several of the regions discovered areassociated with survival time once cancer has developed -- the first suchregions ever reported.

The findings will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Researchmeeting on Wednesday (April 5) in San Francisco. Some of the findings werepublished in December in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The mice used in the UCSF study developed cancer the way humans do - the tumorsarose at the normally occurring site of the disease and had genetic alterationssimilar to those seen in human tumors. In contrast, in traditional mouse modelsof cancer, a malignant tumor that has been grown for years in culture isimplanted under the skin of an immunodeficient mouse.

"These new models mimic natural conditions of cancer," says the senior authorof the study, Allan Balmain, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry. "They reflectthe growth rate of the tumor, the ability of the tumor to spread andmetastasize - they reflect everything you would see in humans."

Balmain's research program is part of a new consortium for studies of mousemodels of tumors that recently received support from the National CancerInstitute. Three other UCSF research programs, as well as those at 15 otherinstitutions, are also involved.

The identification of similar genetic markers in humans could directly impactthe screening and assessment of cancers in humans. "Accurate prediction oftumor growth rate and survival time would be enormously beneficial indetermining patient-specific treatment modalities, and could spare somepatients surgery and many patients unnecessarily harsh exposure to cytotoxictherapeutic drugs," says Balmain.

Moreover, he says, "If we could predict who has which variants of these genes,we could proactively assess people for the likelihood of susceptibility tocancer and recurrent tumors through blood tests."

The researchers conducted their study in two species of mice - one, known asMus musculus, has been inbred over many generations in the laboratory, so thatall of the animals in any one strain are genetically identical; the secondspecies, known as Mus spretus, is, by nature, highly resistant to tumordevelopment in several organs, such as the lung, skin, liver and colon.

The investigators made hybrids between these two types of mice to track thegenes responsible for making the spretus mice resistant to cancer. They exposedthe two species to cancer-causing agents, and then used genetic mappingtechniques to find regions of the genome that influence the number of benigntumors that formed, whether they progressed to malignancy, and at what rate.

The investigators identified ten genetic regions that significantly influencedtumor development. They also discovered a specific combination of a subset ofthe resistance-associated regions that was significantly associated withincreased survival time once a malignant tumor developed.

"The study shows that some of these variants are very potent at preventingcancer," says Balmain. Most likely, he says, the genes involved controldifferent aspects of the process leading to cancer, such as the growth rate ofcells and the ability of tumors to grow blood vessels that will then providethem with the nutrients they need to grow.

Notably, the UCSF researchers have discovered that some of the genes thatcontrol the susceptibility to skin cancer are in the same positions in themouse genome as those associated with susceptibility to colon and lung cancer.And this suggests, says Balmain, that there may be some "master" genes thatcontrol the development of multiple tumor types in different organs. Mostlikely there are also some genes that are tissue and organ specific.

The next step in the research, he says, is to move from the identification ofthe genetic regions to the genes themselves. From there, researchers couldbegin working to identify the proteins produced by these genes and themolecular chain of events - whether beneficial or harmful - that these proteinshelp to instigate. The final step would be developing drugs that either mimicor thwart this molecular outcome.

Significantly, the process of identifying individual genes in the mouse isbecoming increasingly efficient, thanks to progress on sequencing the overallmouse genome. Comparing gene regions that confer susceptibility or resistanceto cancer with a map that identifies each gene in the mouse genome will allowscientists to move in on the implicated genes more quickly. The sequencing ofthe mouse genome is expected to be completed within the next year.

Co-authors of the UCSF study are Hiroki Nagase, MD, formerly a visitingresearcher in the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Jian-Hua Mao, PhD, anassociate specialist in the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study was funded by the Cancer Research Campaign (UK), Onyx Pharmaceuticalsand the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, San Francisco. "Scientists Move In On Genes Conferring Susceptibility, Resistance To Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000406091408.htm>.
University Of California, San Francisco. (2000, April 6). Scientists Move In On Genes Conferring Susceptibility, Resistance To Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000406091408.htm
University Of California, San Francisco. "Scientists Move In On Genes Conferring Susceptibility, Resistance To Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000406091408.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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