Navigation Links
Breaking the mucus barrier unveils cancer cell secrets
Date:3/16/2011

Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2011) -- Measuring the mechanical strength of cancer cell mucus layers provides clues about better ways to treat cancer, and also suggests why some cancer cells are more resistant to drugs than others, according to Kai-tak Wan, associate professor of engineering at Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.

According to Wan, healthy tissues naturally secrete mucus to protect against infection. Cancer cells, however, produce far more mucus than healthy cells.

Mucus consists of protein "stalks" attached to sugar sidechains, or "branches." This tangled brush forms a physical barrier. When over-expressed, it can prevent drugs from reaching the cancer cells beneath. Over-expressed mucus also makes it easier for cancer cells to break away from surrounding cells and move through the body, or metastasize.

Wan's research partner, Robert B. Campbell, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, Mass., is investigating the use of chemical agents that limit the formation of this tangled mucus barrier so medicines can get through.

To determine how well those agents work, Wan used the nanoscale tip of an atomic force microscope to push against the mucus barrier. The less resistance it encountered, the less tangled the barrier.

Wan found that suppressing the formation of mucus sidechains significantly reduced the energy needed to pierce the mucus barrier in lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and wild type (natural) ovarian cancer cells.

Yet the treatment registered barely any change in multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer cells. No one understands how those cells resist drugs that ordinarily kill wild type ovarian cancer.

Wan's research points to an important difference. The mucus layer formed by the two types of cells reacts differently to the same chemical treatment.

"How this phenomenon is related to biochemistry is unknown at this stage, but it tells us what we should be looking at in future research," Wan said about his and Campbell's conclusions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Charles E. Blue
cblue@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Groundbreaking discovery may lead to stronger antibiotics
2. Breaking the barrier: Discovery of anti-resistance factors and novel ocean drugs
3. NIH funds development of resistance-breaking insecticides to reduce malaria transmission
4. Tufts students host Earth Day with groundbreaking ceremony for solar house
5. Breaking the ties that bind: New hope for biomass fuels
6. UTs Valentin Dragoi gets $1.2 million grant for groundbreaking approach to brain research
7. Research Councils UK sign groundbreaking MoU with Brazil
8. Groundbreaking model of heart disease rewarded with NIH Pioneer Award
9. Groundbreaking Videourology journal launched by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
10. Breaking the aphids code
11. Life Technologies, TGen and US Oncology partner on groundbreaking breast cancer sequencing research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, ... security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate ... ... NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , ... that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ... covers the linking of an iris image with a ... and represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... June 26, 2017 , ... Two new members were ... Meeting on June 9, 2017: Jeremy Nowak, President, J Nowak Strategy and Michele Masucci, ... announced the election of Glen N. Gaulton and Kenneth L. Kring, and re-election of ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... , ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... provider, announced the latest version of LimitLIS®, its rapidly growing Laboratory Information System. ... up user adoption, ensure installation integrity, and provide more customization options. Each of ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... DocCafe.com ... six of their healthcare job boards. As the largest network of professional ... and biotechnicians, DocCafe.com and the MedJobCafe.com Health Network work to match the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Beaker, the ... talent in the life sciences industry, today announces a strategic partnership with Alcami ... takes full advantage of Beaker’s expertise in executive recruitment solutions, providing Alcami with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: