Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Discover Genetic Pathway Responsible For Breast Cancer Cell Growth

Date:
August 10, 2005
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Scientists at the MUHC have made an important discovery that will advance our understanding of how the female hormone estrogen causes growth of breast cancer cells. The research, in collaboration with scientists at the Montreal IRCM, identifies 153 genes that respond to estrogen and one in particular that can be used to halt the growth of breast cancer cells. The study, published in today's PNAS, will focus future research for a breast cancer cure.

Scientists at the MUHC have made an important discovery thatwill advance our understanding of how the female hormone estrogencauses growth of breast cancer cells. The research, in collaborationwith scientists at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal(IRCM) identifies 153 genes that respond to estrogen and one inparticular that can be used to halt the growth of breast cancer cells.The study, published in today's Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences (PNAS), will focus future research for a breast cancer cure.

"Wehave known for a very long time that estrogen causes the growth ofbreast cancer cells," says lead investigator Dr Vincent Gigučre. "Thisis how oncologists came to use anti-estrogen as drugs to combat themost common forms of breast cancer." What has remained a mysteryhowever, is the molecular mechanism by which estrogen makes breastcancer cells grow. "Until this is solved, we will be no closer tofiguring out how to prevent and cure breast cancer," Dr Gigučre noted.Over the past two decades researchers have identified around 20estrogen-activated genes that play a role in development of breastcancer. "That's about one gene discovery per year," says Dr Gigučre."Using cutting edge new technology derived directly from the humangenome project, this study adds over hundred additional genes to thistotal."

The technology used information obtained from the humangenome project to create a new type of DNA microchip containing thepartial DNA sequences of approximately 19,000 genes. Dr Gigučre's teamwas able to localize where the estrogen receptor was bound in thegenome of breast cancer cells, thereby identifying a large number ofgenes that respond to this hormone in a single experiment. "Thistechnology, first developed for the study of yeast, now offers theopportunity to rapidly identify, in a genome-wide manner, the genesinvolved in the response to natural hormones or drugs in normal andcancer cells," says co-author Dr François Robert from the IRCM.

Ofparticular importance was the discovery of a gene called FOXA1, knownas a transcription factor. "FOXA1 can be viewed as a facilitator ofestrogen action on cancer cells," says Josée Laganičre, a graduatestudent at the MUHC and principal author of the paper. "It is found inbreast cancer tumours that express the estrogen receptor." In theirstudy, the researchers found that the FOXA1 gene was required for theestrogen receptor to activate the growth of breast cancer cells.

"Byinactivating the FOXA1 gene in laboratory cell cultures, we were ableto block the growth-inducing effect of estogen, and thus halt thegrowth of breast cancer cells," says Dr Gigučre. In FOXA1 researchershave found a new target that affects the development of breast cancer.In practical terms, efforts can now be focused on developing a moreprecise cure/treatment for cancer based on this gene. "The problem withcancer drugs in general has been that they are often untargeted, whichis why patients experience side effects," notes Dr Gigučre. "The morefocused the drugs the less side effects and the more chance you have tocure the disease."

"Research targeting individual moleculesassociated with pathogenesis of cancer has led to positive clinicalresults," says Dr Joseph Ragaz, Director of MUHC Oncology Program."Evidence-based data on agents such as Gleevac in leukemia, Avastin incolorectal cancer, and more recently with Herceptin for breast cancer,confirm that the efforts of researchers like Dr Giguere and his teamsave lives and money. These connections between research and healthcare are one of the strengths of academic hospitals like the MUHC."

TheResearch Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) isa world-renowned biomedical and health-care hospital research centre.Located in Montreal, Quebec, the institute is the research arm of theMUHC, a university health center affiliated with the Faculty ofMedicine at McGill University. The institute supports over 500researchers, nearly 1000 graduate and post-doctoral students andoperates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum offundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute operates atthe forefront of knowledge, innovation and technology and isinextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring thatpatients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge. Forfurther details visit: www.muhc.ca/research.

The McGillUniversity Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic healthinstitution with an international reputation for excellence in clinicalprograms, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teachinghospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGillUniversity--the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria,and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal ChestInstitute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of thefounding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient carebased on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and tocontribute to the development of new knowledge.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Scientists Discover Genetic Pathway Responsible For Breast Cancer Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810130926.htm>.
McGill University. (2005, August 10). Scientists Discover Genetic Pathway Responsible For Breast Cancer Cell Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810130926.htm
McGill University. "Scientists Discover Genetic Pathway Responsible For Breast Cancer Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810130926.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. 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:
from the past week

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