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:2/3/2016)... 2016 --> ... "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market by Component (Hardware and ... & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography - ... is expected to be worth USD 8.49 Billion by ... and 2020. The transformation and technology evolution from the ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 This BCC ... bioinformatic market by reviewing the recent advances in ... that drive the field forward. Includes forecast through ... Identify the challenges and opportunities that exist in ... software solution developers, as well as IT and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016  Based on its recent ... Sullivan recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) ... Award for New Product Innovation. IRIS, a prominent ... North America , is poised to set ... diabetic retinopathy market. The IRIS technology presents superior ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016 Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND ... innovative TransCon technology to address significant unmet medical needs, ... conference.Event:2016 Leerink Partners Global Healthcare Conference Location: , ... 10, 2016 Time:  , 11:55am EST ... An audio webcast of this event will be ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 3, 2016 New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) ... million for researchers in New Jersey ... that demonstrates exciting potential.   James ... the New Jersey Health Foundation Research Grant Program ... educational institutions— Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rowan University ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences ... targets (epitopes) specific to misfolded, propagating strains of Amyloid beta involved in Alzheimer’s ... therapeutics for Alzheimer’s. , Following on from the first misfolded Amyloid beta target ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Resilinc released ... and analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications and alerts generated by its ... Supply chain risk management practitioners subscribe to the EventWatch service to receive early ...
Breaking Biology Technology: