Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Milestone of cancer research: Arresting cancers rather than killing them

Date:
February 3, 2013
Source:
Universitaet Tübingen
Summary:
Medical researchers have shown that the immune system is able to drive tumors and tumor cells into a form of permanent dormancy. The resulting growth arrest allows tumor control in the absence of cancer cell destruction. This permanent dormancy – scientifically known as senescence – may persist for the whole life of the organism. Thus, immunotherapy can prevent tumor development without destroying the cells.

The red staining depicts former malignant tumour cells (melanoma) which were driven into permanent growth arrest, i.e. senescence, by the immune system. Tumour cells from growing melanoma do not stain red (not shown).
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitaet Tübingen

The research team of Prof. Dr. Martin Röcken from the Department of Dermatology of the University Medical Center Tübingen has shown for the first time that the immune system is able to drive tumours and tumour cells into a form of permanent dormancy (1). The resulting growth arrest allows tumour control in the absence of cancer cell destruction. This permanent dormancy -- scientifically known as senescence (2, 3) -- may persist for the whole life of the organism. Thus, immunotherapy can prevent tumour development without destroying the cells (1, 4).

Related Articles


Prof. Martin Röcken, Director of the Department of Dermatology of the University Medical Center Tübingen, outlines the current state of tumour therapy as follows: "About 50 years ago the former President of the United States of America Richard Nixon declared the "War on cancer." Strong financial and logistic efforts were undertaken and thought to overcome this devastating disease in relatively short time. At this time, researchers and clinicians learned to use chemotherapeutics or natural killer cells to directly attack the tumour cells and to destroy cancers including their environment. This led to several very important, partly brilliant achievements in the understanding of tumour development and to improved cancer diagnostics. What's more, the treatment of several different cancers was markedly improved by new and innovative operation techniques, radiation, chemo- and immunotherapy. However, the main goal, ie. the decisive victory on cancer, remained absent." "[For some time]," Prof. Röcken explains further, "doubts were raised about the strategy of the "War on cancer" which exclusively focussed on cancer destruction, as for example published in an essay in the journal The Lancet and other recent publications (5, 6, 7)."

Importantly, the work of the Röcken group revealed that immune responses also drive tumours of human origin into senescence. The human body apparently defends itself from cancer by inducing the senescence program in tumour cells thereby inhibiting tumour growth (1).

In this line, two well known signalling molecules of cancer therapy and immunology of infectious diseases move again in the center of attention: the interferons and tumor necrosis factor. Repeatedly, a bulk of researchers and clinicians tried to use these molecules and other techniques to destroy the tumour cells and their supplying blood vessels, and so did the scientists from Tübingen. Surprisingly, however, the Röcken group found that a combination of both signalling molecules, interferon and tumor necrosis factor, stopped the tumour growth in vivo without any signs of tumour or tissue destruction.

In animal experiments, the efficacy of immunotherapy-induced senescence proved to be much better than any other therapy based on "cancer destruction" (4). Most importantly, the common action of both signalling molecules, interferon and tumor necrosis factor, also stopped the growth of human tumours (1).

In the course of a natural immune response, the research team even detected senescence induction in regressing malignant tumours of cancer patients . Seven years ago, it was shown in principle that cancer cells can be shifted towards permanent dormancy or senescence (2, 3). Those theoretical insights were now successfully transferred into a therapeutic approach, here an immunotherapeutic regimen (1, 4).

The new therapeutic option will enable clinicians to approach their goal of a life-prolonging, mainly adverse effect-free cancer therapy. "It is very likely that we can't win the "War on cancer" by exclusive military means.," Prof. Röcken resumes. "Instead, it will be an important milestone to restore the bodies´ immune control of malignant tumours."

Notes:

1. Braumüller et al. M. T-helper-1-cell cytokines drive cancer into senescence. Nature, in press (2013).

2. Michaloglou, C. et al. BRAFE600-associated senescence-like cell cycle arrest of human naevi. Nature 436, 720-724 (2005).

3. Braig, M. et al. Oncogene-induced senescence as an initial barrier in lymphoma development. Nature 436, 660-665 (2005).

4. Müller-Hermelink, N. et al. TNFR1 signaling and IFN-gamma signaling determine whether T cells induce tumor dormancy or promote multistage carcinogenesis. Cancer Cell 13, 507-518 (2008).

5. Sporn, MB. The war on cancer. The Lancet 347, 1377-1381 (1996).

6. Gatenby, RA. A change of strategy in the war on cancer. Nature 459, 508-509 (2009).

7. Röcken, M. Early tumor dissemination, but late metastasis: insights into tumor dormancy. J. Clin. Invest. 120, 1800-1803 (2010).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Heidi Braumüller, Thomas Wieder, Ellen Brenner, Sonja Aßmann, Matthias Hahn, Mohammed Alkhaled, Karin Schilbach, Frank Essmann, Manfred Kneilling, Christoph Griessinger, Felicia Ranta, Susanne Ullrich, Ralph Mocikat, Kilian Braungart, Tarun Mehra, Birgit Fehrenbacher, Julia Berdel, Heike Niessner, Friedegund Meier, Maries van den Broek, Hans-Ulrich Häring, Rupert Handgretinger, Leticia Quintanilla-Martinez, Falko Fend, Marina Pesic, Jürgen Bauer, Lars Zender, Martin Schaller, Klaus Schulze-Osthoff, Martin Röcken. T-helper-1-cell cytokines drive cancer into senescence. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature11824

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. "Milestone of cancer research: Arresting cancers rather than killing them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130203212411.htm>.
Universitaet Tübingen. (2013, February 3). Milestone of cancer research: Arresting cancers rather than killing them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130203212411.htm
Universitaet Tübingen. "Milestone of cancer research: Arresting cancers rather than killing them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130203212411.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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