Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery in liver cancer cells provides new target for drugs

Date:
March 23, 2011
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a novel mechanism in gene regulation that contributes to the development of a form of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Currently, there is virtually no effective treatment for HCC, and this breakthrough identifies a promising new target for therapeutic intervention.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) have discovered a novel mechanism in gene regulation that contributes to the development of a form of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Currently, there is virtually no effective treatment for HCC, and this breakthrough identifies a promising new target for therapeutic intervention.

In the journal Hepatology, Devanand Sarkar, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., Harrison Endowed Scholar in Cancer Research at VCU Massey Cancer Center, a Blick scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and a member of the VIMM at VCU School of Medicine, describes for the first time how RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) contributes to the development of liver cancer.

RISC is an important factor in post-transcriptional gene regulation, which occurs between transcription (where DNA is converted to RNA) and translation (where RNA is converted to protein). These processes regulate functions such as cellular growth, division and death. Sarkar and his team identified the proteins AEG-1 and SND1 as factors that increase RISC activity and lead to the development of liver cancer.

For years, Sarkar has been studying the role of AEG-1 in cancer with his collaborator on this research, Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at VCU Massey, professor and chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and director of the VIMM.

"AEG-1 works as a scaffold protein," says Sarkar. "If you think about scaffolding outside of a biological setting, its function is to help facilitate things like construction. In this case, AEG-1 was found to work with another protein, SND1, to provide the scaffold for the formation of RISC. Since both AEG-1 and SND1 are increased in HCC, the net effect is increased RISC activity."

The study clearly identifies SND1 as a novel regulator of liver cancer. As SND1 is a molecule that can be inhibited by drugs, Sarkar's findings open up a novel avenue for treating liver cancer by targeting SND1.

"RISC works by degrading tumor-suppressor mRNAs, which transmit genetic information in a cell that prevents the formation of tumors. This allows other cancer-causing factors to go unchecked and aid tumor growth," says Sarkar. "Since we've shown that RISC activity is higher in cancer cells than normal, healthy cells, we're hopeful that inhibiting SND1 to decrease RISC activity will do little, if any, damage to healthy liver cells while stopping cancer progression."

Sarkar's team is working hard to find the most clinically-relevant SND1 inhibitors. Once these are found, the researchers will need to prove their effectiveness in several more experiments. The ultimate goal is to move these findings to Phase I clinical trials for patients with liver cancer.

In addition to Fisher, other collaborators on this study included Lewis K. Pannell, Ph.D., professor of oncologic sciences in the Mitchell Cancer Institute of the University of South Alabama; Luni Emdad, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., assistant professor from Mount Sinai Medical Center; and Byoung Kwon Yoo, Ph.D., Prasanna K. Santhekadur, Ph.D., Rachel Gredler, B.S., Dong Chen, M.D., and Sujit Bhutia, Ph.D., all from the VCU School of Medicine.

Funding for this study was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Dana Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Byoung Kwon Yoo, Prasanna K. Santhekadur, Rachel Gredler, Dong Chen, Luni Emdad, Sujit Bhutia, Lewis Pannell, Paul B. Fisher, Devanand Sarkar. Increased RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) activity contributes to hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/hep.24216

Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Discovery in liver cancer cells provides new target for drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322172241.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2011, March 23). Discovery in liver cancer cells provides new target for drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322172241.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Discovery in liver cancer cells provides new target for drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322172241.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. 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