Navigation Links
Groundbreaking discovery of the cellular origin of cervical cancer
Date:6/12/2012

A team of scientists from A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) together with clinicians from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have identified a unique set of cells in the cervix that are the cause of human papillomaviruses (HPV) related cervical cancers. Significantly, the team also showed that these cells do not regenerate when excised. These findings have immense clinical implications in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. The study was published in the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), this week.

Cervical cancer is the 7th most common female cancer in Singapore and about 200 cases are diagnosed every year. Infection with HPV is the most common cause or risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV infection causes pre-invasive cancer, termed CIN (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia), which are pre-cancerous lesions that can progress and potentially become invasive cancer if left untreated.k

Dr Christopher P. Crum, Director of Women's and Perinatal Pathology in the Department of pathology at BWH, said, "It has been a decades-old mystery why cervical cancers caused by HPV arise only from a discrete region of the cervix, known as the 'squamocolumnar junction', despite the presence of the virus throughout the genital tract. The discovery of these cells finally resolves this mystery and will have wide-ranging impact from developing more meaningful animal models of early cervical carcinogenesis to clinical implications."

The team discovered that this discrete set of cells, located at the squamocolumnar junction of the cervix, uniquely express biomarkers that are seen in all forms of invasive c%rvical cancers linked to HPV. This means that the signature markers of this population of cells can provide a way of distinguishing potentially dangerous precancerous lesions from those with a benign prognosis.

Dr Wa Xian, Principal Investigator at IMB, said, "Our study also revealed that this exotic population of cells does not reappear after ablation by cone biopsy. This finding helps to explain the low rate of new HPV infections in the cervix after excisional therapy and also raises the distinct possibility that preemptive removal of these cells in young women could reduce their risk of cervical cancer. This could be an alternative to current vaccines which only protect against HPV 16 and 18."

This study further validates previous work by Dr Xian and Dr McKeon in collaboration with BWH and NUS, which showed for the first time that some cancers originate from just a small set of cells that are unique from the other cells that reside around them. (Refer to Background)

Dr Frank Mckeon, Senior Group Leader at GIS, said, "Our previous work on esophageal cancer opened up the possibility of 'preventive therapy' to stamp out the disease by eliminating this small group of cells. This recent work in the cervix further validates this concept and raises important possibilities for early intervention to prevent malignancies linked to very small populations of these unusual, discrete population of cells."

Prof Birgitte Lane, Executive Director of IMB, said, ""This compelling study lends further weight to the importance of specific target cell populations underlying cancer. It is a powerful example of what can be done by combining skilled pathology with modern molecular genetics to uncover important new information, even in such a well-studied disease as cervical cancer."

Prof Ng Huck Hui, Acting Executive Director of GIS, said, "This study is a fine example of how A*STAR research institutes can integrate our research capabilities to better collaborate with an international partner like the Brigham and Women's Hospital to carry out excellent research with strong clinical and translational applications."

Background

In a landmark paper published in Cell in June 2011, Dr Wa and Dr Mckeon identified a novel mechanism for the evolution of highly aggressive cancers in collaboration with BWH and NUS. They discovered that a discrete population of cells at the junction of the esophagus and stomach were linked to precursors of esophageal cancer (Barrett's metaplasia). It was the first time scientists realized that some cancers originate from just a small set of cells that are unique from the other cells that reside around them.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ong Siok Ming
ong_siok_ming@a-star.edu.sg
65-682-66254
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Lawson recieves Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research
2. Astellas and DNDi to collaborate on new drug discovery research for the treatment of NTDs
3. New discovery provides insight on long-standing pregnancy mystery
4. Speeding up drug discovery with rapid 3-D mapping of proteins
5. La Jolla Institute discovery could lead to new way to screen drugs for adverse reactions
6. A whale of a discovery: New sensory organ found in rorqual whales
7. Novel discovery by NUS scientists paves the way for more effective treatment of cancers
8. Discovery of mechanisms predicting response to new treatments in colon cancer
9. DNA barcoding verified the discovery of a highly disconnected crane fly species
10. Understanding the RNAi Reagents Market Overlap with Drug Discovery and Therapeutic Development is Critical for Pharmaceutical Leaders
11. Discovery of plant proteins may boost agricultural yields and biofuel production
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... DUBLIN , April 27, 2016 ... of the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report ... ) , The analysts forecast ... a CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... a number of sectors such as the healthcare, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... -- IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central ... in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi. ... patients can routinely track key health measurements, such as ... when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians ... retail location at no cost. By leveraging this data, ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- A person commits a crime, and the detective uses ... criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes ... uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused ... not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology ... Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to announce ... Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of the Peel ... President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform comparably to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: