Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inhibition of protein opens door to treatment of pancreatic cancer

Date:
July 1, 2014
Source:
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute)
Summary:
A new protein, galectin-1, has been identified as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated the effects of the inhibition of this protein in mice suffering this type of cancer and the results showed an increase in survival of 20%. The work further suggests that it could be a therapeutic target with no adverse effects.

Researchers from IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) have identified a new protein, galectin-1, as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer. For the first time they have demonstrated the effects of the inhibition of this protein in mice suffering this type of cancer and the results showed an increase in survival of 20%. The work further suggests that it could be a therapeutic target with no adverse effects.

Until now, the strategies for treating this tumor were aimed at attacking the tumor cells and had little success. The latest studies indicate that trying to destroy what surrounds the tumor is possibly a better strategy. "Our contribution is directed toward this, as the reduction of galectin-1 mainly affects the immune system and the cells and structure that surrounds the tumor cells, which is called the stroma. Therefore, galectin-1 as a therapeutic target has great potential," explains Dr. Pilar Navarro, co-ordinator of the research group on molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis of IMIM and director of the research.

It was known that galectin-1 was not found in the normal pancreas despite being strongly expressed in pancreatic tumors. Furthermore, some clear functions were known which demonstrate the relationship between galectin-1 and tumor progression in other contexts. In fact, some preclinical studies for other diseases use inhibitor molecules and antibodies against this protein. "We are aiming at its possible use in pancreatic cancer" states Dr. Neus Martνnez, researcher of the group on molecular mechanisms and tumorigenesis of IMIM and first author of this article. "We have also observed that the elimination of galectin-1 in mice has no harmful consequences, indicating that it could be a safe therapeutic target with no adverse effects," she adds.

In collaboration with the Hospital del Mar Anatomical Pathology Service, which has analyzed some samples, pancreatic tumors were studied in mice with high levels of galectin-1 and after its depletion. They observed that tumors without this protein showed less proliferation, fewer blood vessels, less inflammation and an increase in the immune response. All these changes are associated with less aggressive tumors.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the tumors with the worst prognosis, with a survival rate of less than 2%, 5 years after diagnosis. Although it is not a very common tumor, it is the fourth cause of cancer-related death in developed countries. This is due, on one hand, to the fact that it is often diagnosed too late, when the tumor has already metastasized and, on the other hand, to the inefficacy of current treatments. In Spain 4000 cases are diagnosed each year. Although it is a tumor that is well known at molecular level, its diagnosis and treatment are still one step behind. In fact it is one of the tumors with the least therapeutic advancements in recent years.

The results are very encouraging but we must be prudent as there are many factors to take into account. The researchers now want to move the results obtained to preclinical studies, where they will treat mice with pancreatic cancer with chemical inhibitors or antibodies against galectin-1 (the same treatment that would be used for a cancer patient) in order to verify the therapeutic utility of this target. In the event that they obtain positive results and manage to halt the tumor, the next step would be to propose its use on patients. Obviously we are talking about long-term objectives, as the transfer of studies on animals to humans is usually a slow process.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Martinez-Bosch, M. G. Fernandez-Barrena, M. Moreno, E. Ortiz-Zapater, J. Munne-Collado, M. Iglesias, S. Andre, H.-J. Gabius, R. F. Hwang, F. Poirier, C. Navas, C. Guerra, M. E. Fernandez-Zapico, P. Navarro. Galectin-1 Drives Pancreatic Carcinogenesis through Stroma Remodeling and Hedgehog Signaling Activation. Cancer Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3013

Cite This Page:

IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute). "Inhibition of protein opens door to treatment of pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701091500.htm>.
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute). (2014, July 1). Inhibition of protein opens door to treatment of pancreatic cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701091500.htm
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute). "Inhibition of protein opens door to treatment of pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701091500.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) — Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 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