Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma

Date:
June 3, 2013
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Researchers have found a promising strategy for defeating neuroblastoma -- a malignant form of cancer in children -- that focuses on the so-called MYCN protein. A specific chemical molecule helps to break down MYCN, which either kills the cancer cell or makes it mature into a harmless neuron.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found a promising strategy for defeating neuroblastoma -- a malignant form of cancer in children -- that focuses on the so-called MYCN protein. A specific chemical molecule helps to break down MYCN, which either kills the cancer cell or makes it mature into a harmless neuron. The discovery, which is published in the scientific journal PNAS, raises hopes for new and more effective treatments in the future.

Related Articles


Neuroblastoma is the third most common form of cancer in children. It usually develops before the age of two and affects around two dozen children per year in Sweden and around 800 in the US. The tumours are normally located in the peripheral nervous system, but in very young infants they can sometimes spread over the entire body. Current therapies are tough and have serious side effects, and for many of the patients the prognosis is poor. In its most aggressive form only a minority survive, which makes finding alternative treatments particularly urgent.

In the case of neuroblastoma, extra copies of the gene that encodes the MYCN protein are normally found in the cancer cell. This in turn is a clear indication of a poor prognosis, as it has long been known that the incorrect activation of the MYCN and similar MYC genes causes cancer. The strategy of the research group for defeating the disease was therefore to identify substances that prevent MYC-triggered cell division or that kill cancer cells in an MYC-specific manner.

"We have found that a small chemical molecule, that is known from previous studies to inhibit the activity of the c-MYC-protein, also inhibits the activity of MYCN," says Principal Investigator Marie Arsenian Henriksson, Professor of molecular tumour biology at Karolinska Institutet. "The substance disrupts the binding between MYCN and another protein called Max, which results in the degradation of MYCN and subsequently either to cell death in neuroblastoma cells with extra copies of the MYCN gene, or to their development into neurons, at which point their malignity disappears. Small chemical molecules that knock out MYCN are therefore a possible therapy option for children with neuroblastoma as well as for other MYC-driven tumours."

The molecule used by the researchers is no drug candidate; instead the finding is to be seen as a model that can inspire future cancer therapies. However, the researchers did find that the survival rate increased when they applied test treatments on mice with neuroblastoma. The study also led to a new discovery on what happens inside the cancer cell, where the treatment caused an accumulation of fat droplets, suggesting that the MYC proteins affect tumour cell metabolism and the normal breakdown of fatty acids.

"This is an original finding," says Professor Arsenian Henriksson. "It has not previously been observed that the inhibition of MYC affects tumour cells in this way. This does not only open new avenues for novel therapies for certain forms of cancer, but may also have implications for metabolic diseases, such as diabetes."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hanna Zirath et al. MYC inhibition induces metabolic changes leading to accumulation of lipid droplets in tumor cells. PNAS, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222404110

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603163753.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2013, June 3). New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603163753.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "New strategy for defeating neuroblastoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603163753.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