Navigation Links
Roundworm unlocks pancreatic cancer pathway
Date:1/19/2011

Chapel Hill, NC The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 43,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and more than 36,000 died from the disease. Despite advances in genetic science showing that the Ras oncogene is mutated in virtually all pancreatic cancers, scientists have been frustrated by the complexity of the signaling pathways in humans, which make it difficult to pinpoint potential therapeutic targets.

In a study published today in the Cell Press journal Developmental Cell, a team of researchers led by Channing Der, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at UNC-Chapel Hill, took a step back to a simpler organism a common roundworm and made a discovery about how the Ras oncogene chooses a signaling pathway and how the consequences of that choice play out in cellular development a key issue in cancer, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.

Der, who is also a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains, "In humans the cell signaling pathways are very complex; there are more than 20 different downstream partners beyond the two proteins we study Raf and RalGEF that Ras can choose to interact with. In C. elegans, there is only one of each protein. That made it easier for us to identify how Ras chooses a partner to 'dance' with and what are the critical events in the subsequent cell development that promote cancer."

"We found an elegant mechanism by which Ras switches partners and showed that the choice leads to very different fates for the cell. Now we can go back to the human pancreatic cancer cell and ask whether similar mechanisms are at work in determining how Ras causes pancreatic cancer," he adds.

Scientists often study simpler organisms to tease out genetic and cellular activity that might be almost impossible to map in humans. "Worms' cells actually share a great deal of functional overlap with human cells. However, while there may be one mechanism in a simple organism like a worm, there are multiple mechanisms at work in humans. It's a great thing for us as people, because there is a great deal of redundancy in our biological systems that helps them self-repair and function better, but it makes it a lot harder to study what's going on at a basic level," Der notes.

"If this signaling works in a similar way in humans, the C. elegans model may be very powerful for helping us find new therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer," he concludes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Biochemist unlocks genes role in breast-tumor growth
2. DNA sequencing unlocks relationships among flowering plants
3. BIO 2009 -- R&D session: New stem cell research unlocks unknown therapies
4. Landmark study unlocks stem cell, DNA secrets to speed therapies
5. Missing molecules hold promise of therapy for pancreatic cancer
6. UNC team discovers promising target for new pancreatic cancer treatments
7. Glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells
8. Pancreatic cancers use fructose, common in the Western diet, to fuel their growth
9. TGen-Asuragen partner to advance pancreatic cancer research
10. Predicting prognosis and treatment response in a subset of pancreatic cancer patients
11. Soft drink consumption may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy research, ... with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances that ... With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell University ... Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a food ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... DALLAS , May 16, 2017   ... for health organizations, and MD EMR Systems ... certified development partner for GE, have established a ... Patient Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, ... Centricity EMR. These new integrations ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, has developed ... the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ® , ... showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big Sight April ... Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of the M820 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... They call it the “hairy ... a depiction of a system of linkages and connections so complex and dense ... of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and director of the university’s ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, ... improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity ... to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... to take place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The ... influencers as well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A ... pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer ... age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: