Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breast Cancer Gene Activity Seen From Outside The Body

Date:
December 3, 2007
Source:
Thomas Jefferson University
Summary:
Researchers have used PET imaging to see hyperactive cancer genes inside breast tumors in laboratory animals, marking the first time such gene activity has been observed from outside the body. This technology might someday help physicians to detect and classify cancer, enabling them to find cancerous breast tumors as early as possible, and determine the appropriate treatment.

Researchers at Jefferson Medical College and Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer in Philadelphia have used PET imaging to see hyperactive cancer genes inside breast tumors in laboratory animals, marking the first time such gene activity has been observed from outside the body. This technology might someday help physicians to detect and classify cancer, enabling them to find cancerous breast tumors as early as possible, and determine the appropriate treatment.

Related Articles


Reporting in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, scientists led by Eric Wickstrom, Ph.D., and Mathew Thakur, Ph.D., used a DNA “probe” – a modified nuclear medicine agent – to detect the hyperactivity of CCND1, a common breast cancer gene. The gene is copied thousands of times in most breast cancer cells. The high concentration makes CCND1 copies easier to image with the genetic PET probe. The research team found a much higher concentration of the cancer gene activity in estrogen receptor-positive breast tumors in mice than in normal tissue.

“Less than one-fourth of lumps found in mammograms are really cancer,” notes Dr. Wickstrom, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. “Our new technique will let us see what is really going on in a suspicious lump. We will see if a lump is malignant or something safe.”

“Patients with benign lumps could avoid invasive procedures if active cancer genes could be identified from outside the body,” says Dr. Thakur, professor of Radiology and Radiation Oncology at Jefferson Medical College. “Observing the cancer gene activity of a breast tumor will permit physicians to determine the best way to treat it.”

The new technique to visualize sites of cancer gene activity, which the investigators call radiohybridization imaging (RHI), might help physicians find out whether lesions found in mammograms are cancerous or non-cancerous without a biopsy. The genetic imaging agents are intended to find cancer gene activity as quickly as possible and guide the choice of therapy based on which genes are most active.

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 40,000 women in this country will die from breast cancer in 2007. Yet, clinical examination and mammography can miss almost half of the breast cancers in women under 40, approximately one-quarter of cancers in women ages 40 to 49 and one-fifth of cancers in women over age 50.

“When suspect lumps are discovered, biopsies are necessary to determine if the lumps are cancerous,” Dr. Thakur points out. “However, more than three-fourths of the lumps are found to be benign. Mammography, an invaluable screening technique, sees shapes but not gene activity. Genetic PET scanning is a minimally invasive, sensitive and specific technique that might detect cancers with high efficiency in adult women and young women without breast compression.” The researchers expect that RHI will be tested in clinical trials in suspected cases of breast cancer.

Dr. Wickstrom, Dr. Thakur, and their co-workers have found that RHI works for detecting the activity of other cancer genes in other types of tumors as well. “Early detection saves lives,” Dr. Thakur says. “Several other cancers show characteristic activated genes that we might be able to use for early diagnosis, such as pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, and colon cancer.” The investigators are also exploring genetic agents designed for magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescence imaging.

These experiments were supported by grants from the Department of Energy and the National Cancer Institute.


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. "Breast Cancer Gene Activity Seen From Outside The Body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128165905.htm>.
Thomas Jefferson University. (2007, December 3). Breast Cancer Gene Activity Seen From Outside The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128165905.htm
Thomas Jefferson University. "Breast Cancer Gene Activity Seen From Outside The Body." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128165905.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. 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