Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pathway of protein that helps cancer cells survive discovered

Date:
February 13, 2014
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
A team of researchers has discovered how the cancer-related protein Bcl-2 signals cancer cells to live longer. The breakthrough emerged when the scientists discovered that Bcl-2 alters the level of calcium ions in lymphoma and leukemia cells that are resistant to cancer treatments. The research findings could help lead to the development of drugs that attack Bcl-2 in malignancies and produce better outcomes for cancer treatment.

A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine has discovered how the cancer-related protein Bcl-2 signals cancer cells to live longer. The breakthrough emerged when the scientists discovered that Bcl-2 alters the level of calcium ions in lymphoma and leukemia cells that are resistant to cancer treatments. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research findings could help lead to the development of drugs that attack Bcl-2 in malignancies and produce better outcomes for cancer treatment.

"One of the deadliest and most remarkable characteristics of cancer cells is that regardless of where they are growing, and no matter what types of treatments are employed, including many different forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the cancer cells have the ability to survive," said Clark W. Distelhorst, MD, Professor, Medicine-Hematology/Oncology, Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. "Since 1993 our team has been conducting research on key mechanisms by which the protein Bcl-2 keeps cancer cells alive."

"Our recent publication in the journal PNAS describes how Bcl-2 regulates calcium ions that carry information within cancer cells and promotes the survival of those cancer cells," said Distelhorst. "Now, for the first time, we have evidence of how Bcl-2 is promoting abnormally long survival of the cancer cells by regulating calcium levels within cells, and will use the discovery and data to deliver therapies designed to attack the Bcl-2 protein and inhibit its impact," said Distelhorst.

"We have recognized for decades that cancer cells grow and forget to die," said Stanton Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Seidman Cancer Center at UH Case Medical Center. "For the first time now we understand why. Dr. Distelhorst's discovery is a breakthrough that will lead to new treatments for cancer. I predict that this work will focus the discovery of new drugs against the Bcl-2 calcium flow system," said Gerson.

More than a decade ago, the Distelhorst lab discovered that Bcl-2 binds to the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) channel and regulates the release of calcium ions. In their most recent study, this team found that when Bcl-2 binds to the IP3R channel, it initiates a complex feedback mechanism that blocks the release of calcium ions intended to induce cell death. Instead of dying, the cancer cells continue to proliferate -- even in the face of chemotherapy and radiation.

The research, led by hematology and oncology expert Clark W. Distelhorst, sheds new light on how Bcl-2 functions and the pathway it uses to prevent the death of cancer cells.

Bcl-2 can prolong the survival of cancer cells by limiting the release of calcium ions from the endoplasmic reticulum (transport system) of the cell. Elevations in intracellular calcium signal key events in the lifetime of a cell. These calcium ions encode information that governs many cellular processes -- including cell division, cell proliferation, and even cell death -- and travel via a specialized channel known as the IP3R.

Bcl-2's role in thwarting cancer treatment is best seem in lymphoid malignancies like chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma as well as in small cell lung cancer and other cancers characterized by high levels of Bcl-2. The Distelhorst lab used biochemical and cell physiological studies, molecular studies, and intracellular imaging to document major changes in the calcium content of the cells they studied.

The study appeared in the electronic edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on January 7, 2014.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. The original article was written by Christine A. Somosi. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M.-J. Chang, F. Zhong, A. R. Lavik, J. B. Parys, M. J. Berridge, C. W. Distelhorst. Feedback regulation mediated by Bcl-2 and DARPP-32 regulates inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor phosphorylation and promotes cell survival. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; 111 (3): 1186 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1323098111

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Pathway of protein that helps cancer cells survive discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213141952.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2014, February 13). Pathway of protein that helps cancer cells survive discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213141952.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Pathway of protein that helps cancer cells survive discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213141952.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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