Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vet Medicine Researcher Examines Link Between Cancer, Down Syndrome

Date:
February 5, 2008
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
There's new hope for breast cancer research, and it's coming from a very unlikely place. Researchers at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences recently published articles in the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and Carcinogenesis indicating that a protein long suspected to play a role in Down Syndrome may also contribute to treating this devastating disease.

There's new hope for breast cancer research, and it's coming from a very unlikely place. Researchers at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences recently published articles in the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and Carcinogenesis indicating that a protein long suspected to play a role in Down Syndrome may also contribute to treating this devastating disease.

It has long been known that Down Syndrome is caused when an individual has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, giving them a total of three instead of the normal chromosome pair. With improved medical care, people with Down Syndrome are now living longer, healthier lives. With this advance came the observation that individuals with Down Syndrome have a significant decrease in risk for several types of tumors. Most striking is the observation that women with Down Syndrome are 10-25 times less likely to develop breast cancer.

This effect is thought to be due to the presence of one or more "tumor suppressor" genes on chromosome 21. However, the identity of such genes has not been known, until now.

"Years of research into the genetics of Down Syndrome have helped us to discover a very important gene on chromosome 21," said Dr. Weston Porter, associate professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Department. "This gene, called Single-minded 2 or SIM2 is thought to play an important role in Down Syndrome by regulating neuron growth in the developing brain. Based on its developmental role, we hypothesized that SIM2 may also be involved in breast cancer, which is essentially a disease of uncontrolled growth."

For the last five years, Porter and his colleagues, Richard Metz, Brian Laffin and Elizabeth Wellberg, have been using human breast cells and mouse models as part of a research grant from the National Institutes of Health to validate this hypothesis, and what they have found they consider very promising. SIM2 is lost or suppressed in a majority of human breast tumors, and deletion of the SIM2 gene triggers rapid tumor growth in mice.

However, the process by which SIM2 suppresses breast cancer is complex and not fully understood. This same protein which may hold so much promise for breast cancer treatment is also thought to contribute to the negative effects of Down Syndrome.

"As we move forward," said Porter, "it will be important for us to understand the circuit of SIM2 and how it is turned on and off. In light of the available data on breast cancer incidence in the Down Syndrome population and our experimental data, knowing how to turn SIM2 expression on and off and identification of down-stream targets should have great therapeutic value."

While still in the early stages, this research represents a promising weapon in the fight against breast cancer as it sheds light on a previously unknown target for which to shoot.

"What we are seeing now is a paradigm shift in breast cancer research" said Porter. "For years we have gone after the wrong kinds of cells. It was all about getting rid of the tumor itself. This has led to a dandelion effect where, we didn't get to the root and the cancers kept coming back and spreading. Now we're looking at ways to get to the root of breast cancer, and not simply shrinking the tumor to come back another day."

While it may be years before their research results in a definitive treatment or cure, Weston says it is impacting our approach towards understanding breast cancer today.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Vet Medicine Researcher Examines Link Between Cancer, Down Syndrome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204143158.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2008, February 5). Vet Medicine Researcher Examines Link Between Cancer, Down Syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204143158.htm
Texas A&M University. "Vet Medicine Researcher Examines Link Between Cancer, Down Syndrome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204143158.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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