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New genetic target found for most common lung cancer

Date:
March 22, 2016
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
Research has identified mutations in lung cancer that is key to tumor growth, offering a new way to differentiate and treat some patients with the disease. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes up around 8 in 10 cases of lung cancer but the outlook is bleak for many patients, who are often diagnosed at a late stage. For some there is the promise of targeted 'smart' drugs, but scientists have so far struggled to identify which targets to hit in the majority of patients.
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Research in Manchester has identified mutations in lung cancer that is key to tumor growth, offering a new way to differentiate and treat some patients with the disease.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes up around 8 in 10 cases of lung cancer but the outlook is bleak for many patients, who are often diagnosed at a late stage. For some there is the promise of targeted 'smart' drugs, but scientists have so far struggled to identify which targets to hit in the majority of patients.

Despite an ever-increasing amount of genetic data revealing a host of mutations in NSCLC cells, there is much work to do in order to pinpoint which are vital for tumor survival.

The team from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester has focused on a pair of genes known as ABL1 and ABL2, which are mutated or amplified in up to 10% of lung cancer cases.

Dr John Brognard, who led the study, said: "Drugs that block the activity of the ABL proteins have been used to successfully treat leukemia patients, where ABL is overactive. However, until now, the role of ABL1 and ABL2 in other cancer types hasn't really been explored."

His group looked at lung cancer cells in the lab and showed that mutations in ABL1, but not ABL2, were necessary for their survival. By using an ABL inhibitor -- imatinib -- they could block tumor growth in cancer cells that harboured an ABL1 mutation.

"Drugs like imatinib are already commercially available. This means that we now have an extra ready-made tool for the treatment of lung cancer -- we just need to identify which patients will benefit by doing some additional tests," added Dr Brognard.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Manchester University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Testoni, N. L. Stephenson, P. Torres-Ayuso, A. A. Marusiak, E. W. Trotter, A. Hudson, C. L. Hodgkinson, C. J. Morrow, C. Dive, J. Brognard. Somatically mutated ABL1 is an actionable and essential NSCLC survival gene. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 2016; 8 (2): 105 DOI: 10.15252/emmm.201505456

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "New genetic target found for most common lung cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160322082150.htm>.
Manchester University. (2016, March 22). New genetic target found for most common lung cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160322082150.htm
Manchester University. "New genetic target found for most common lung cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160322082150.htm (accessed May 29, 2017).

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