Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprising new way to kill cancer cells

Date:
March 21, 2014
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Cancer cells -- and not normal cells -- can be killed by eliminating either the FAS receptor, also known as CD95, or its binding component, CD95 ligand, scientists have demonstrated. The discovery seems counterintuitive because CD95 has previously been defined as a tumor suppressor. To confirm the importance of CD95 for the survival of cancer cells in vivo, the researchers removed it from tissues in animal models and found that cancer could not form.

Northwestern Medicine scientists have demonstrated that cancer cells -- and not normal cells -- can be killed by eliminating either the FAS receptor, also known as CD95, or its binding component, CD95 ligand.

"The discovery seems counterintuitive because CD95 has previously been defined as a tumor suppressor," said lead investigator Marcus Peter, professor in medicine-hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "But when we removed it from cancer cells, rather than proliferate, they died."

The findings were published March 20 in Cell Reports.

The self-destruction of cells, known as apoptosis, is a necessary process that helps the body rid itself of unwanted and potentially harmful cells. Under normal circumstances, when CD95 is activated, the process of apoptosis is triggered. Seen as a keeper of homeostasis in the immune system, it's been long-considered vital for the prevention of uncontrolled, cancerous cell growth.

"In order to conduct this line of work, we had to create something that I don't believe exists, a cancer cell completely devoid of CD95," said Peter, a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "If CD95 was truly a tumor suppressor, its elimination would result in an enhanced growth and/or invasiveness of cancer cells."

Peter and his team tested cancer cells from nine different tissue origins. Instead of proliferating, the cells increased their size and the production of harmful reactive oxygen species, resulting in DNA damage. In their first attempt to divide, they died.

Peter determined that the "cell death induced by CD95 receptor or ligand elimination (DICE)," comprises multiple death pathways. A cancer cell would have to mutate components of each to defend against DICE, a highly unlikely scenario.

"DICE killed every cancer cell we put it up against and we found nothing that could prevent its destruction," Peter said. "The fact that none of the more than 1,000 drugs, nor the knockdown of any single gene was found to counteract DICE, makes it a very promising new way to kill cancer cells."

To confirm the importance of CD95 for the survival of cancer cells in vivo, Peter and colleagues removed it from tissues in animal models and found that cancer could not form.

"We know CD95 is not essential for the survival of any tissue outside of the immune system because mice with a deletion of either CD95 or CD95 ligand complete an average lifecycle with no illness other than autoimmunity," he said.

The findings suggest that dependence on CD95 and CD95 ligand for survival is a feature of cancer cells that distinguishes them from normal cells.

"We didn't believe these findings at first, but after more than four years of detailed experiments, we have convinced ourselves and others that what we have shown reflects reality," Peter said.

Peter is now working with Chad Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of medicine at Feinberg, to induce DICE in cancer cells using small interfering RNAs delivered by gold nanoparticles.

"We're not going to reinvent the wheel," Peter said. "Alexander Stegh, assistant professor of neurology and of medicine at Feinberg, has already used the same nano-platform to target a gene in a mouse model for brain cancer. In developing nano-DICE, we can begin the process of finding new treatment options."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Abbas Hadji, Paolo Ceppi, Andrea E. Murmann, Sonia Brockway, Abhinandan Pattanayak, Bhavneet Bhinder, Annika Hau, Shirley De Chant, Vamsi Parimi, Piotre Kolesza, JoAnne Richards, Navdeep Chandel, Hakim Djaballah, Marcus E. Peter. Death Induced by CD95 or CD95 Ligand Elimination. Cell Reports, March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.02.035

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Surprising new way to kill cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321095508.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2014, March 21). Surprising new way to kill cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321095508.htm
Northwestern University. "Surprising new way to kill cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321095508.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) 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