Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein May Be Key In Developing Deadly Form Of Pancreatic Cancer

Date:
October 12, 2007
Source:
Thomas Jefferson University
Summary:
A tumor-blocking protein previously implicated in prostate and breast cancer development may also be behind the most aggressive type of pancreatic cancer. Researchers have discovered that the protein pp32 -- which normally applies the brakes on a cancer-causing gene -- is missing in an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. Though the work is preliminary, the scientists say, the absent protein could eventually become a marker for the disease and a potential drug target.

A tumor-blocking protein previously implicated in prostate and breast cancer development may also be behind the most aggressive type of pancreatic cancer. Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia have discovered that the protein, pp32 – which normally applies the brakes on a cancer-causing gene – is missing in an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.

Though the work is preliminary, the scientists say, the absent protein could eventually become a marker for the disease and a potential drug target.

Scientists led by Jonathan Brody, Ph.D., assistant professor of Surgery, Charles Yeo, M.D., Samuel D. Gross Professor and chair of Surgery and Agnieszka Witkiewicz, M.D., assistant professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, all of Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, have shown in experimental models that without the protein, mutations in the cancer-causing gene K-ras can take over, turning cells cancerous.

Adding pp32 to pancreatic cancer cells that have K-ras mutations and lack the protein can slow the growth of these fast-growing cells, leading the scientists to speculate that losing pp32 might be a critical event in determining how aggressively a pancreatic cancer behaves. They report their initial findings online in the journal Modern Pathology.

According to Dr. Brody, previous laboratory and animal studies have shown that pp32 inhibits K-ras-activating gene mutations found in more than 90 percent of all pancreatic cancers and in some early pre-cancerous lesions as well. But in a subset of fast-moving, “poorly differentiated” pancreatic cancers, the researchers found that “pp32 is either reduced or lost,” Dr. Brody says. “Losing the protein in pre-cancerous lesions could be a marker for an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.

“It’s rare to find laboratory studies that parallel what we see in actual pancreatic tumors,” Dr. Brody says. “Connecting a protein that can inhibit a critical mutation found in almost every pancreatic cancer to the pathology is powerful information. These types of studies can help us understand more about the early development of pancreatic cancer on a molecular level.

“If we are able to learn more about this molecule, this may be a potential target that we could turn on in aggressive types of pancreatic cancers,” he notes. “In theory, if we could find a way to upregulate this molecule in these pancreatic cancers, we may be able to arrest these fast-growing cancer cells as we did in experiments in this study. As we understand its molecular interactions, we could also somehow find the things that regulate it and extend our molecular understanding of this devastating disease.”

Pancreatic cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in this country, takes some 30,000 lives a year. The disease is difficult to treat, particularly because it is frequently detected after it has spread to other areas on the body. Only 4 percent of all individuals with pancreatic cancer live for five years after diagnosis, and approximately 25 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer who undergo successful surgical removal of their disease live at least that long. But recent figures give new hope: of those who live for five years after surgical resection, some 55 percent will be alive at least another five years.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Thomas Jefferson University. "Protein May Be Key In Developing Deadly Form Of Pancreatic Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071011180821.htm>.
Thomas Jefferson University. (2007, October 12). Protein May Be Key In Developing Deadly Form Of Pancreatic Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071011180821.htm
Thomas Jefferson University. "Protein May Be Key In Developing Deadly Form Of Pancreatic Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071011180821.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Now a new approach to rejection of donor organs could change the way doctors predict transplant rejection…without expensive, invasive procedures. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Better Braces That Vibrate

Better Braces That Vibrate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) The length of time you have to keep your braces on could be cut in half thanks to a new device that speeds up the process. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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