(Press-News.org) 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 tumour were aimed at attacking the tumour cells and had little success. The latest studies indicate that trying to destroy what surrounds the tumour 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 tumour 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 tumours. Furthermore, some clear functions were known which demonstrate the relationship between galectin-1 and tumour 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 Martínez, 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 analysed some samples, pancreatic tumours were studied in mice with high levels of galectin-1 and after its depletion. They observed that tumours 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 tumours.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the tumours with the worst prognosis, with a survival rate of less than 2%, 5 years after diagnosis. Although it is not a very common tumour, 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 tumour has already metastasised and, on the other hand, to the inefficacy of current treatments. In Spain 4000 cases are diagnosed each year. Although it is a tumour that is well known at molecular level, its diagnosis and treatment are still one step behind. In fact it is one of the tumours 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 tumour, 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.
Galectin-1 drives pancreatic carcinogenesis through stroma remodeling and Hedgehog signaling activation. Neus Martinez-Bosch, Maite G Fernandez-Barrena, Mireia Moreno, Elena Ortiz-Zapater, Jessica Munné-Collado, Mar Iglesias, Sabine André, Hans-Joachim Gabius, Rosa F. Hwang, Françoise Poirier, Carolina Navas, Carmen Guerra, Martin E. Fernández-Zapico, and Pilar Navarro.
Cancer Res. Doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3013
The inhibition of a protein opens the door to the treatment of pancreatic cancer
The identification of new therapeutic targets is urgently needed due to the ineffectiveness of current targets
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Scientists chart a baby boom -- in southwestern Native-Americans from 500 to 1300 A.D.
Scientists have sketched out one of the greatest baby booms in North American history, a centuries-long "growth blip" among southwestern Native Americans between 500 and 1300 A.D. It was a time when the early features of civilization--including farming and food storage--had matured to a level where birth rates likely "exceeded the highest in the world today," the researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Then a crash followed, says Tim Kohler, an anthropologist at Washington State University (WSU), offering ...
Lead in kids' blood linked with behavioral and emotional problems
Emotional and behavioral problems show up even with low exposure to lead, and as blood lead levels increase in children, so do the problems, according to research funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. The results were published online June 30 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. "This research focused on lower blood lead levels than most other studies and adds more evidence that there is no safe lead level," explained NIEHS Health Scientist Administrator Kimberly Gray, Ph.D. "It is important to ...
Malaria parasite manipulates host's scent
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Malaria parasites alter the chemical odor signal of their hosts to attract mosquitos and better spread their offspring, according to researchers, who believe this scent change could be used as a diagnostic tool. "Malaria-infected mice are more attractive to mosquitos than uninfected mice," said Mark Mescher, associate professor of entomology, Penn State. "They are the most attractive to these mosquito vectors when the disease is most transmissible." Malaria in humans and animals is caused by parasites and can be spread only by an insect vector, ...
Adults can undo heart disease risk
CHICAGO --- The heart is more forgiving than you may think -- especially to adults who try to take charge of their health, a new Northwestern Medicine® study has found. When adults in their 30s and 40s decide to drop unhealthy habits that are harmful to their heart and embrace healthy lifestyle changes, they can control and potentially even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease, scientists found. The study was published June 30 in the journal Circulation. "It's not too late," said Bonnie Spring lead investigator of the study and a professor of ...
New Tel Aviv University research links Alzheimer's to brain hyperactivity
Patients with Alzheimer's disease run a high risk of seizures. While the amyloid-beta protein involved in the development and progression of Alzheimer's seems the most likely cause for this neuronal hyperactivity, how and why this elevated activity takes place hasn't yet been explained – until now. A new study by Tel Aviv University researchers, published in Cell Reports, pinpoints the precise molecular mechanism that may trigger an enhancement of neuronal activity in Alzheimer's patients, which subsequently damages memory and learning functions. The research team, led ...
Study helps unlock mystery of high-temp superconductors
A Binghamton University physicist and his colleagues say they have unlocked one key mystery surrounding high-temperature superconductivity. Their research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a remarkable phenomenon in copper-oxide (cuprate) high-temperature superconductors. Michael Lawler, assistant professor of physics at Binghamton, is part of an international team of physicists with an ongoing interest in the mysterious pseudogap phase, the phase situated between insulating and superconducting phases in the cuprate phase ...
Tropical countries' growing wealth may aid conservation
DURHAM, N.C. -- While inadequate funding has hampered international efforts to conserve biodiversity in tropical forests, a new Duke University-led study finds that people in a growing number of tropical countries may be willing to shoulder more of the costs on their own. "In wealthier developing countries, there has been a significant increase in public demand for conservation, which has not yet been matched by an equivalent increase in protective actions by the governments of those countries," said Jeffrey R. Vincent, a Duke environmental economist who led the study, ...
Using geometry, researchers coax human embryonic stem cells to organize themselves
About seven days after conception, something remarkable occurs in the clump of cells that will eventually become a new human being. They start to specialize. They take on characteristics that begin to hint at their ultimate fate as part of the skin, brain, muscle or any of the roughly 200 cell types that exist in people, and they start to form distinct layers. Although scientists have studied this process in animals, and have tried to coax human embryonic stem cells into taking shape by flooding them with chemical signals, until now the process has not been successfully ...
Research team pursues techniques to improve elusive stem cell therapy
Stem cell scientists had what first appeared to be an easy win for regenerative medicine when they discovered mesenchymal stem cells several decades ago. These cells, found in the bone marrow, can give rise to bone, fat, and muscle tissue, and have been used in hundreds of clinical trials for tissue repair. Unfortunately, the results of these trials have been underwhelming. One problem is that these stem cells don't stick around in the body long enough to benefit the patient. But Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists at Boston Children's Hospital aren't ready ...
Oil palm plantations threaten water quality, Stanford scientists say
If you've gone grocery shopping lately, you've probably bought palm oil. Found in thousands of products, from peanut butter and packaged bread to shampoo and shaving cream, palm oil is a booming multibillion-dollar industry. While it isn't always clearly labeled in supermarket staples, the unintended consequences of producing this ubiquitous ingredient have been widely publicized. The clearing of tropical forests to plant oil palm trees releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas fueling climate change. Converting diverse forest ecosystems to these ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic
New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer
Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase
Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring
Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights
Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions
Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility
Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults
65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription
Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy
Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose
Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots
Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism
International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic
International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics
Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest
Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience
Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ
New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research
Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer
Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed
Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children
Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus
Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping
New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul
Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells
Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas
Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera
The mechanics of puncture finally explained
Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests[Press-News.org] The inhibition of a protein opens the door to the treatment of pancreatic cancer
The identification of new therapeutic targets is urgently needed due to the ineffectiveness of current targets