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Iron Induces Death In Tumor Cells

Date:
March 13, 2009
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Tumor cells and healthy cells differ considerably in metabolism intensity. Scientists have now taken advantage of this difference; by releasing cellular iron, they were able to induce death selectively in tumor cells.

Rapid growth of cancer cells and their frequent divisions have their price: Cancer cells need considerably more energy than healthy cells. Their metabolism runs at full speed and requires large amounts of micronutrients, particularly iron. However, high levels of iron in the cell lead to the production of extremely harmful free radicals.

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To protect itself from these, the cell inactivates free iron by binding it to what are called iron storage proteins.

Collaborating with physicians of the Dermatology Department of Mannheim University Hospitals, Dr. Karsten Gülow and Professor Dr. Peter Krammer, head of the Division of Immunogenetics at DKFZ, investigated Sézary's disease (also called Sézary syndrome), an extremely aggressive type of cutaneous T cell lymphoma. The majority of currently available treatments are not really effective against this fatal type of cancer.

Using a molecular-biological trick, Gülow and colleagues succeeded in blocking the production of one of the iron storage proteins in lymphoma cells. This leads to a rise in the level of free, non-bound iron in these cells. The iron boosts the production of free oxygen radicals which cause oxidative stress and, thus, cause damage to the cancer cells and induce their death. Healthy cells with their low iron level, however, survive the treatment unharmed.

The DKFZ researchers have already found evidence that this iron effect also works in other lymphomas. They are now investigating whether selective release of iron may be a suitable approach for developing a novel cancer treatment.

Michael K. Kiessling, Claus D. Klemke, Marcin M. Kamiński, Ioanna E. Galani, Peter H. Krammer, and Karsten Gülow: Inhibition of constitutively activated NF-κB induces ROS- and iron dependent cell death in cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Cancer Research 2009; DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3221

The German Cancer Research Center is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90%) and the State of Baden-Württemberg (10%).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael K. Kiessling, Claus D. Klemke, Marcin M. Kami%u0144ski, Ioanna E. Galani, Peter H. Krammer, and Karsten Gülow. Inhibition of constitutively activated NF-%u03BAB induces ROS- and iron dependent cell death in cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Cancer Research, DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3221

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Iron Induces Death In Tumor Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311103607.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2009, March 13). Iron Induces Death In Tumor Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311103607.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Iron Induces Death In Tumor Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311103607.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

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