Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Promising new therapeutic target for aggressive breast cancer

Date:
August 1, 2012
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
Scientists have identified a new therapeutic target for advanced breast cancer which has shown tremendous promise in mouse models. The study looked at a protein called Nodal that is primarily found in embryonic or stem cells. Researchers discovered high levels of this protein in aggressive breast cancer tumors.

Scientists at Western have identified a new therapeutic target for advanced breast cancer, which has shown tremendous promise in mouse models.

Related Articles


The study, led by Lynne-Marie Postovit of Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, looked at a protein called Nodal that is primarily found in embryonic or stem cells. Postovit discovered high levels of this protein in aggressive breast cancer tumors. Nodal was found to promote vascularization in the tumor, providing nutrients and oxygen to help it grow and spread.

The research is published online in the journal Cancer Research.

"We have determined that breast cancers, specifically those very aggressive, invasive breast cancers that spread, express an embryonic protein called Nodal and the expression of this protein is correlated with more blood vessels in the tumor," said Postovit, of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. "Blood vessels, many studies have shown, help to allow tumors to grow but also to spread throughout the body.

In addition, we have shown that if we can target this embryonic protein, we can cause the blood vessels to collapse within the tumor, leading to decreased oxygen levels and tumor cell death. When tumors lack oxygen and nutrients they become what we call necrotic."

In the study, mouse models were designed to develop breast cancer tumors. Researchers then turned off the expression of Nodal using a genetic modification. When they did that, the blood vessels in the tumor appeared to collapse, and the tumor was less aggressive.

Nodal is on the outside of the cell, so it can be easily targeted by a number of mechanisms including antibodies. Since Nodal isn't expressed in normal tissue in the body, it would be possible to target just the cancer, allowing for better patient outcomes.

"Ultimately it would be nice to target Nodal in patients who already have quite advanced, well-vascularized tumors as a new option for therapy," said Daniela Quail, first author on the research and a PhD candidate in Postovit's lab. "Currently, patients like this don't have many options."

"In Canada, breast cancer continues to be one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Although new treatment methods have improved outcomes, a significant number of women still die from this disease," added Morag Park, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "Research advancements, such as Dr. Postovit's, have contributed and will continue to contribute to the improvements around our understanding of cancer progression and treatment."

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Cancer Research Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. D. F. Quail, L. A. Walsh, G. Zhang, S. D. Findlay, J. Moreno, L. Fung, A. Ablack, J. D. Lewis, S. J. Done, D. A. Hess, L.-M. Postovit. Embryonic Protein Nodal Promotes Breast Cancer Vascularization. Cancer Research, 2012; 72 (15): 3851 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3951

Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Promising new therapeutic target for aggressive breast cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093823.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2012, August 1). Promising new therapeutic target for aggressive breast cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093823.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Promising new therapeutic target for aggressive breast cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093823.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. 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:

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