Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viral Mimic Induces Melanoma Cells To Digest Themselves

Date:
August 12, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Recent research has uncovered an unexpected vulnerability in deadly melanoma cells that, when exploited, can cause the cancer cells to turn against themselves. The study identifies a new target for development of future therapeutics aimed at selectively eliminating this aggressive skin cancer which is characterized by a notoriously high rate of metastasis and treatment-resistance.

Recent research has uncovered an unexpected vulnerability in deadly melanoma cells that, when exploited, can cause the cancer cells to turn against themselves. The study, published in the August issue of the journal

Related Articles


Cancer Cell,

identifies a new target for development of future therapeutics aimed at selectively eliminating this aggressive skin cancer which is characterized by a notoriously high rate of metastasis and treatment-resistance.

"Although considerable effort has been devoted to the search for molecular mechanisms that contribute to the chemo- and immunoresistance of melanoma, the average survival of patients with inoperable metastases remains less than 10 months," explains senior study author Dr. Maria S. Soengas from the Melanoma Laboratory at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, Spain. Melanoma has multiple complex genetic aberrations that make the cells difficult to destroy with current treatments.

One process that has not been studied in great detail with regards to melanoma is a type of autophagy (literally, self-eating) that involves sequestration of components within the cell for eventual degradation. Previous work has linked autophagy with both cancer cell death and survival and it is not clear whether this process might be a viable target for future drug development. Dr. Soengas and colleagues designed a series of studies to examine the interplay between autophagy and cell death in the context of tumor cell-selective elimination of melanoma cells.

The researchers discovered that melanoma cells retain the ability to recognize and respond to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) located inside the cell cytoplasm. Most animal cells contain single-stranded RNA and see dsRNA, which is associated with viruses, as a threat. The melanoma cells responded to administration of the dsRNA mimic polyinosine-polycytidylic acid (pIC) by inducing an immune response that led to autophagy. However, the method of delivering the pIC to the melanoma cells was critical and required a carrier called polyethyleneimine (PEI) to ensure delivery of pIC to the cell cytoplasm.

The researchers went on to show that pIC links autophagy to apoptosis, a well studied cell death pathway. Significantly, the cell autonomous anti-tumor activity of pIC was observed even in animals with a suppressed immune system, a condition common to melanoma patients. "Altogether, our results provide the proof of principle for dsRNA sensors as therapeutic targets to overcome the inherent resistance of melanoma cells to current anticancer treatments," says Dr. Soengas.

Importantly, the pIC-PEI complex has two exciting advantages over other anticancer agents. "First, pIC-PEI can induce both autophagy and apoptosis in an efficient manner while other compounds are just partial inducers of one of the two processes. Second, pIC-PEI has a significant anti-melanoma activity in experimental mouse models without noticeable side effects." The researchers caution that further research is required before these results can be translated to the clinic.

The researchers include Damia` Tormo, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Agnieszka Checinska, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Direna Alonso-Curbelo, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Eva Perez-Guijarro, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Estela Canon, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Erica Riveiro-Falkenbach, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Tonantzin G. Calvo, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Lionel Larribere, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain' Diego Megias, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Francisca Mulero, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Miguel A. Piris, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain; Rupesh Dash, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA; Paola M. Barral, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA; Jose´ L. Rodriguez-Peralto, Hospital Universitario, Madrid, Spain; Pablo Ortiz-Romero, Hospital Universitario, Madrid, Spain; Thomas Tuting, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Paul B. Fisher, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA; and Maria S. Soengas, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Viral Mimic Induces Melanoma Cells To Digest Themselves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803122717.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, August 12). Viral Mimic Induces Melanoma Cells To Digest Themselves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803122717.htm
Cell Press. "Viral Mimic Induces Melanoma Cells To Digest Themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803122717.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