Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Cancer Cells Survive A Chemotherapy Drug

Date:
January 30, 2009
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Summary:
New techniques enabled scientists to assess the actions of thousands of proteins in cancer cells and identify those that help some survive a chemotherapy treatment.

What separates the few cancer cells that survive chemotherapy – leaving the door open to recurrence – from those that don’t? Weizmann Institute scientists developed an original method for imaging and analyzing many thousands of living cells to reveal exactly how a chemotherapy drug affects each one.

Related Articles


For research student Ariel Cohen, together with Naama Geva-Zatorsky and Eran Eden in the lab of Prof. Uri Alon of the Institute’s Molecular Cell Biology Department, the question posed an interesting challenge. To approach it, they needed a method that would allow them to cast a wide net on the one hand – to sift through the numerous cellular proteins that could conceivably affect survival – but that would let them zoom in on the activities of individual cells in detail, on the other.

Letting the computer take over the painstaking work of searching for anomalies enabled the team to look at the behavior of over 1000 different proteins. Even so, it took several years to complete the project, which entailed tagging the specific proteins in each group of cancer cells with a fluorescent gene and capturing a series of time-lapse images over 72 hours. A second, fainter fluorescent marker was added to outline the cells, so the computer could identify them. A chemotherapy drug was introduced 24 hours into this period, after which the cells began the process of either dying or defending themselves against the drug.

The team’s efforts have produced a comprehensive library of tagged cells, images and data on cancer cell proteins – a virtual goldmine of ready material for further cancer research. And they succeeded in pinpointing two proteins that seem to play a role in cancer cell survival.

Although most of the proteins behaved similarly in all the cells, the researchers found that a small subset of them – around five percent – could act unpredictably, even when the cells and drug exposure were identical. The scientists called these proteins bimodal, as they acted in one of two ways.

The team then asked whether any of the bimodal proteins they had identified were those that occasionally promote cell survival. They found two molecules that seem to fit the bill. One of them, known by the letters DDX5, is a multitasking protein that, among other things, plays a role in initiating the production of other proteins. The other, RFC1, also plays varied roles, including directing the repair of damaged DNA. When the researchers blocked the production of these proteins in the cancer cells, the drug became much more efficient at wiping out the growth.

Cohen said, ‘This method gave us tremendous insight into how a cell responds to a drug. By conducting an unbiased study – we started with no preconceived notions of which proteins were involved – we were able to pinpoint possible new drug targets and to see how certain activities might boost the effectiveness of current drugs.’

Prof. Uri Alon’s research is supported by the Kahn Family Foundation for Humanitarian Support and Keren Isra - Pa’amei Tikva.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cohen et al. Dynamic Proteomics of Individual Cancer Cells in Response to a Drug. Science, 2008; 322 (5907): 1511 DOI: 10.1126/science.1160165

Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute of Science. "How Cancer Cells Survive A Chemotherapy Drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128104633.htm>.
Weizmann Institute of Science. (2009, January 30). How Cancer Cells Survive A Chemotherapy Drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128104633.htm
Weizmann Institute of Science. "How Cancer Cells Survive A Chemotherapy Drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128104633.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 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
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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