Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Critical To Intestinal Tumor Development, Studies Show

Date:
January 30, 2002
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University say they have uncovered a major clue to what causes and promotes development of intestinal tumors.

CHAPEL HILL – Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University say they have uncovered a major clue to what causes and promotes development of intestinal tumors.

Working with laboratory mice, the researchers found that a molecule called epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr) is necessary for most intestinal tumors to form. Their work also suggests that a drug or genetic manipulation that inhibits the receptor’s chemical signaling machinery should help treat advanced colorectal cancers in humans one day.

A report on the findings appears online today (Jan. 29) in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Authors include doctoral student Reade B. Roberts and Dr. David W. Threadgill, assistant professor of genetics, both at the UNC School of Medicine’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Dr. Robert J. Coffey, a cell biologist at Vanderbilt.

“This Egfr receptor is very important to all kinds of tissues and organs, but there hasn’t been any genetic proof in whole animals that it could affect a major cancer like colon cancer,” Reade said. “We think this work represents proof because it relied on genetic experiments that were highly controlled compared with just injecting mice with drugs and hoping that they would affect the receptor.”

At UNC, the researchers studied two kinds of mice. They engineered one set to include a mutation called Apc-Min, which produces both human and mouse intestinal cancers, and another mutation known as waved 2, in which the Egfr was partially impaired. The other mice, litter mates of the first group, bore the same Apc-Min mutation, but also had normal Egfr genes.

Within three months, the first group developed 90 percent fewer intestinal polyps than the second, which showed that Egfr signaling was critical to intestinal tumor formation, scientists found. Some of the first group developed no tumors at all.

“Surprisingly the size, growth and progression of the polyps appeared to be independent of Egfr, and so a small percentage of tumors might not need Egfr to grow,” Roberts said. “Microscopic examination of intestinal tissue in the youngest mice also revealed no differences in the number of lesions believed to be precursors of larger intestinal polyps and cancer. Most just failed to progress.”

Humans who inherit a bad copy of the Apc-Min gene can develop hundreds of tumors throughout their intestinal tracts, he said. That illness, however, represents only about 1 percent of human colon cancer cases.

Mice with the waved 2 mutation have wavy hair and curly whiskers but are otherwise healthy and lead essentially normal lives, Roberts said. Rodents with entirely dysfunctional Egfr die within two weeks of birth, which shows the gene is essential for life.

Related work conducted in Coffey’s laboratory at Vanderbilt involved placing human tumors in mice and then treating the mice with Egfr tyrosine kinase inhibitors -- compounds that block the action of an Egfr signaling enzyme.

“They saw a drastic reduction in tumor growth, depending on the dose they gave the mice,” Roberts said. “That showed the approach definitely holds promise for using these drugs to treat human cancers.

“How well our results in mice wind up correlating with human treatment remains to be seen, but at this point we’re excited about the possibilities.”

Several clinical trials of drugs that block Egfr already have begun, Roberts said. Results from two previous mouse studies of compounds targeting the molecule have been contradictory, probably because drugs used were not precise enough in their action.

Grants from the National Cancer Institute supported the UNC and Vanderbilt research.


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. "Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Critical To Intestinal Tumor Development, Studies Show." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020130073603.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (2002, January 30). Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Critical To Intestinal Tumor Development, Studies Show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020130073603.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Critical To Intestinal Tumor Development, Studies Show." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020130073603.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. 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