Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fighting cancer with cancer: Researchers find promising use for thyroid cancer gene

Date:
June 5, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
A mutant gene long thought to accelerate tumor growth in thyroid cancer patients actually inhibits the spread of malignant cells, showing promise for novel cancer therapies, a new study has found.

A mutant gene long thought to accelerate tumor growth in thyroid cancer patients actually inhibits the spread of malignant cells, showing promise for novel cancer therapies, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

The findings are being presented by Mayo Clinic researcher Honey Reddi, Ph.D., at the Endocrine Society meeting in Boston.

Dr. Reddi's discovery could have widespread implications in cancer research and endocrinology. It could help oncologists sharpen the diagnosis of specific types of thyroid cancers, while leading pharmaceutical researchers toward therapeutics derived from a protein once thought to feed tumor growth.

"It's not an oncogene like everyone thought it was," Dr. Reddi says, referring to a gene with the potential to cause cancer. "We all knew what happened in the cell culture, but we said, 'That's not good enough,' so we asked, 'What would it do in mice?'"

Thyroid cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, and 15 to 20 percent of all thyroid cancer cases are follicular, a type that is more aggressive. Dr. Reddi's findings could aid this diagnosis and treatment for thousands of patients.

Distinguishing benign from malignant follicular thyroid cancer poses a unique challenge to oncologists. An accurate diagnosis of malignant follicular cancer cannot be made until after cancerous material is removed. That has led to countless unnecessary surgeries in patients with benign thyroid tumors. Patients who now present with non-papillary cancerous growths on thyroid cells must undergo surgery to remove the tumor -- even if the cancer is benign.

Dr. Reddi's research found that the PAX8/PPARγ fusion protein, developed from a mutated fusion gene found in many follicular thyroid carcinomas, functions as a tumor suppressor by upregulating (encourages natural production of) microRNA-122 and PTEN, both naturally occurring anti-tumor agents.

PAX8/PPARγ results from the translocation of genetic material between human chromosomes 2 and 3. Previous in vitro studies of the PAX8/PPARγ protein found rapid acceleration of cell growth, which led researchers to the false interpretation that PAX8/PPARγ functioned as an oncogene, a type of mutated gene that encourages tumor propagation, Dr. Reddi says.

Mayo Clinic's in vivo animal studies show that PAX8/PPARγ upregulates the well-known anti-cancer protein PTEN, as well as microRNA-122, and likely facilitates other cancer-fighting molecules.

PAX8/PPARγ does not boost tumor progression when exposed to cancerous cells, Dr. Reddi says. Rather, its facilitation of other native anti-cancer molecules appears to outweigh the tumor propagation. Tumors grew about four times slower in mice exposed to the PAX8/PPARγ gene than those who were deprived of the protein's cancer-fighting qualities.

Among the team's goals in future research is the identification of other microRNA-like markers, which could identify a benign disease and obviate the need for immediate and unnecessary surgery.

Based on her discussions with clinicians at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Reddi says, "There are many complications from thyroid surgery, and having early detection markers could save thousands of unnecessary surgeries every year. We're just getting started and look towards a rapid translation from bench to bedside."

Others on the study team include Bryan McIver, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.; Norman Eberhardt, Ph.D.; Pranathi Madde; Dragana Milosevic; Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich, Ph.D.; and Stefan Grebe, M.D.; all of Mayo Clinic. Translation of this research to a clinical setting is being done in collaboration with Dr. Grebe. The study was funded by Mayo Clinic, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the National Institutes of Health. The Emslander Career Development Award supported Dr. McIver.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Fighting cancer with cancer: Researchers find promising use for thyroid cancer gene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110604181850.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, June 5). Fighting cancer with cancer: Researchers find promising use for thyroid cancer gene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110604181850.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Fighting cancer with cancer: Researchers find promising use for thyroid cancer gene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110604181850.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
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
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

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