Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New clues about how cancer cells communicate and grow

Date:
February 15, 2012
Source:
University of St George's London
Summary:
Researchers have shown that the communication signals sent around the body by cancer cells, which are essential for the cancer to grow, may contain pieces of RNA – these substances, like DNA, are pieces of genetic code that can instruct cells, and ultimately the body, how to form. The same study also found early indications that these genetic instructions can be intercepted and modified by chemotherapy to help prevent cancer cells growing.

Researchers have shown that the communication signals sent around the body by cancer cells, which are essential for the cancer to grow, may contain pieces of RNA -- these substances, like DNA, are pieces of genetic code that can instruct cells, and ultimately the body, how to form. The same study also found early indications that these genetic instructions can be intercepted and modified by chemotherapy to help prevent cancer cells growing.

The researchers, from St George's, University of London, believe that these findings add to the body of evidence investigating a new wave of cancer treatment that stimulates the body's immune system to fight the disease. Most current treatment attacks the cancerous cells directly. However, the researchers emphasise that this is an early-stage study and there is much more research to be done before patients will benefit.

The findings are published online by the British Journal of Cancer.

It is believed that when tumour cells develop they can, as part of this process, produce chemicals that travel around the body instructing it to create the ideal environment for the tumour to flourish. An element of this is the creation of new blood vessels, which feed the tumour cell in the same way they would healthy cells -- a process known as angiogenesis.

Previously, it has been thought that this angiogenesis process is sparked by chemical messengers called cytokines. But in laboratory-based experiments conducted with human lung cancer cells outside of the body, researchers at St George's discovered the tumour may also send out packets of RNA that, like the cytokines, instruct blood vessels to form and feed the tumour.

The researchers went on to investigate the effects that two frequently prescribed cancer drugs -- cyclophosphamide and oxaliplatin -- had on angiogenesis. They cultivated RNA messages sent by untreated cancer cells as well as those messages sent by cancer cells that had been treated by the drugs.

They found that when lung cancer cells were treated with oxaliplatin, the RNA and cytokine messages produced by the tumours were no longer capable of influencing vessels to grow.

Lung cancer cells treated with cyclophosphamide, however, were still able to instruct vessels to feed the tumour via these chemical messengers.

Lead researcher Dr Wai Liu, from St George's, University of London, says:

"Currently, drugs fight cancer either by attacking the tumour cell itself or by disrupting the physical interaction between the tumour and the body, which can dislodge the cell. Only very few target the signals sent between tumour cells and those that make up the micro-environment. Partly, this is because little is known about the form of these signals. This study tells us a bit more about how cancer forms and provides a further avenue to explore. Plus it suggests that there may also be existing drugs that can help fight cancer in different ways.

"Although these are early findings and more research is needed, they add to the growing interest in training the body's own immune system to fight cancer and will hopefully help to form the foundations for future medications that exploit this approach."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of St George's London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W M Liu, J L Dennis, A M Gravett, C Chanthirakumar, E Kaminska, G Coulton, D W Fowler, M Bodman-Smith, A G Dalgleish. Supernatants derived from chemotherapy-treated cancer cell lines can modify angiogenesis. British Journal of Cancer, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2012.13

Cite This Page:

University of St George's London. "New clues about how cancer cells communicate and grow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215082819.htm>.
University of St George's London. (2012, February 15). New clues about how cancer cells communicate and grow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215082819.htm
University of St George's London. "New clues about how cancer cells communicate and grow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215082819.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. 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