Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New hope for setback-dogged cancer treatment

Date:
November 26, 2012
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Several drugs companies have ineffectively tried to produce antibodies that bind to the IGF-1 receptor on the cell surface, which has a critical part to play in the development of cancer. Scientists have now ascertained how these antibodies work, and can explain why only some cancer patients are helped by IGF-1 blockers during clinical tests. The researchers also present a means by which drugs of this kind could help more cancer patients.

Several drugs companies have ineffectively tried to produce antibodies that bind to the IGF-1 receptor on the cell surface, which has a critical part to play in the development of cancer. Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now ascertained how these antibodies work, and can explain why only some cancer patients are helped by IGF-1 blockers during clinical tests. The researchers also present a means by which drugs of this kind could help more cancer patients.

Related Articles


Every cell contains thousands of tiny receptors that help it communicate with other cells. These receptors are involved in countless physiological processes, such as taste and smell perception and heart rate. A couple of dozen of these receptors form their own family -- the kinase receptors (RTKs), which are implicated in cancer. The so-called IGF-1 receptor is particularly important for cancer cell survival, and as soon as this receptor encounters the right hormone (type 1 insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1) into the cancer cell open a number of communication channels, helping it to grow, rapidly divide and protect itself against treatment.

Blocking this receptor with an antibody that binds to it and makes it inaccessible to IGF-1 has long been regarded as the key to a potential cancer therapy, the idea being that it will eventually lead to the death of the tumour cell. Several drugs companies have therefore been developing such antibodies in order to treat the most aggressive forms of cancer, and after some promising laboratory tests, have tested a number of these preparations on patients. However, the drugs have generally given disappointing results and helped only a small minority of patients (including children with Ewing's sarcoma), leading some companies to discontinue clinical trials focusing on the IGF-1 receptor.

The Karolinska Institutet team has now systematically analysed the different IGF-1-related triggered communication channels within a cancer cell. Their results show that the original idea is correct and that such antibody treatment does actually stop the channels from opening, with one very important exception: the MEK channel was actually powerfully stimulated by the treatment -- the antibodies being as effective in this as the hormone itself -- and actively helped the cancer cells to survive.

"This gives us a credible explanation why the antibody trials for the IGF-1 receptor weren't as effective as had been hoped," says principal investigator Dr Leonard Girnita, docent of pathology at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Oncology-Pathology. "So it's too early to give up on the idea of treating cancer like this -- it's still a very good way of attacking the cancer, provided we can close this final communication channel. If we can do this, antibodies for the IGF-1 receptor are likely to form an effective treatment not only for Ewing's sarcoma in children but many other cancers as well."

Drugs that are used to close this channel in other forms of treatments are already available. The researchers believe that a combination therapy using such MEK inhibitors with IGF-1 blockers can be the key to releasing the potential of this therapy model.

"We've seen in the laboratory that cell lines treated in this way no longer manage to divide," says Dr Girnita. "When they die of old age there is no regrowth, so we've seen in the laboratory environment how cancer cells die out of their own accord."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "New hope for setback-dogged cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126151047.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2012, November 26). New hope for setback-dogged cancer treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126151047.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "New hope for setback-dogged cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126151047.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
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