Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New clues about the origin of cancer

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB
Summary:
Scientists have discovered new information about the origin of tumors. The scientists postulate that the initiation of a tumor and the type and aggressivity of the same depend on a specific combination of defects in several processes that safeguard cell integrity, such as DNA repair pathways and cell cycle check-points. The study also demonstrates that mice with a high degree of chromosomal instability and defective programmed cell death (apoptosis), two hallmarks of cancer, rarely develop tumors.

Different types of tumor arise, depending on the mutation of certain proteins involved in DNA damage response, cell cycle check-points and apoptosis.
Credit: Image courtesy of Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB

A study by Travis H. Stracker, researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with scientists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, reveals new information about the origin of tumors. In this study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the scientists postulate that the initiation of a tumor and the type and aggressivity of the same depend on a specific combination of defects in several processes that safeguard cell integrity, such as DNA repair pathways and cell cycle check-points. The study also demonstrates that mice with a high degree of chromosomal instability and defective programmed cell death (apoptosis), two hallmarks of cancer, rarely develop tumors.

"Whether or not a tumor develops depends on the moment of the cell cycle in which the damage occurs, which repair pathways components are affected, and which others are impaired in terms of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest," explains the North-American Travis H. Stracker, head of the "Genomic Instability and Cancer" group and an expert in DNA repair pathways and its implications on human health. In this study, H. Stracker and his team report on some of these combinations for the initiation of cancer and in different kinds of tissue. "The paper points out that our understanding of which aspects of damage response promote tumorigenesis and where they play a role in the process needs to be investigated further because it shows that it has been generalized and that there is a lot of specifics that are not at all clear."

The researchers utilized mice carrying mutations in key DNA repair genes involved in cancer. Next, they combined them with other mutations affecting cell cycle checkpoints or apoptosis until they hit upon the combinations that are sufficient to initiate tumorigenesis or to generate certain types of tumors. "It is like deconstructing cancer to find the factors responsible for it appearing," says H. Stracker. During DNA replication in a dividing cell there is a series of checkpoints to test that duplication is taking place properly. If the cell detects errors in any of these phases, cell growth is halted and highly complex DNA repair processes are triggered. If the repair is defective and the cell accumulates many genomic errors, "watch-out" proteins step in, such as tumor suppressor p53. Such proteins activate programmed cell death (apoptosis) or cell cycle arrest (senescence). "A very complex network of pathways and proteins are involved," explains the researcher.

"This study demonstrates that genomic instability per se is not sufficient to initiate a tumor and that we cannot generalize. We need to study the origin of different kinds of cancer in much greater depth and although it is as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack, we are slowly identifying the parts on which we should focus," he goes on to explain. The detection of the main players that cause different kinds of cancer could be of great interest for the design of new diagnostic tools and specific treatments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. S. Foster, S. De, L. K. Johnson, J. H. J. Petrini, T. H. Stracker. Cell cycle- and DNA repair pathway-specific effects of apoptosis on tumor suppression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1120476109

Cite This Page:

Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. "New clues about the origin of cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606075321.htm>.
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. (2012, June 6). New clues about the origin of cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606075321.htm
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. "New clues about the origin of cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606075321.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. 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