Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer

Date:
March 27, 2013
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer. Their research reveals the existence of a cancer inducing DNA re-alignment in stem cells taken from human prostate cancers.

Scientists have discovered the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer. Their research reveals the existence of a cancer inducing DNA re-alignment in stem cells taken from human prostate cancers.
Credit: Nenov Brothers / Fotolia

Scientists at the University of York have discovered the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer.

Their research, published in Nature Communications today and funded by the charity Yorkshire Cancer Research, reveals the existence of a cancer inducing DNA re-alignment in stem cells taken from human prostate cancers.

This opens the way to the development of drugs that target the stem cells, leading to more effective therapies that work against the root cause of the disease.

Professor Norman Maitland, Director of the YCR Cancer Research Unit, and his team in the University’s Department of Biology were the first to isolate prostate cancer stem cells in 2005. While other cancer cells can be killed by current therapies, stem cells are able to evade their effects, resulting in cancer recurrence. The team has since been exploring the exact molecular properties that allow these cells to spread, survive and resist aggressive treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Professor Maitland said: “This discovery marks a fundamental shift in our understanding of how solid cancers start. It is believed that ‘root’ cancer cells arise from healthy stem cells going wrong – for example certain controls can be turned off which allow the cells to keep growing and invade surrounding tissue.

“In blood cancers such as leukaemia, DNA is rearranged during an event known as chromosomal translocation, which results in a mutant protein that drives cancer progression. Although similar rearrangements have recently been discovered in solid cancers, until now, they have not been considered as stem cell functions. Our work has challenged this idea.”

Professor Maitland’s team has found these genetic accidents in prostate cancer stem cells and has shown that they result in a specific cancer-associated gene within the cells called ERG being inappropriately activated. It is believed that this activation triggers the stem cells to renew more often.

Professor Maitland continued: “The cells become selfish by surviving outside normal controls that exist in the prostate and thrive at the expense of their neighbours, ensuring that the genetic accident becomes permanent and passed from generation to generation. This process appears to be essential for the initiation of prostate cancer.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research funded a 2.15m five year programme at the YCR Cancer Research Unit in August 2011 to allow scientists to continue their internationally-award winning research into prostate cancer.

Kathryn Scott, Head of Research Funding at the charity, said: “This exciting discovery is another step forward in our understanding of how prostate cancer begins. Professor Maitland has detected one of the earliest possible changes in the development of prostate cancer. The findings mean that new therapies can now be developed which specifically target the protein identified, killing the stem cells that remain after chemotherapy while leaving healthy cells untouched.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Euan S. Polson, John L. Lewis, Hamza Celik, Vincent M. Mann, Michael J. Stower, Matthew S. Simms, Greta Rodrigues, Anne T. Collins, Norman J. Maitland. Monoallelic expression of TMPRSS2/ERG in prostate cancer stem cells. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1623 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2627

Cite This Page:

University of York. "Scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327132441.htm>.
University of York. (2013, March 27). Scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327132441.htm
University of York. "Scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130327132441.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. 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