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:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... --> --> Competitive Landscape ... Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... market and the continuing migration crisis in the ... has led visiongain to publish this unique report, which is ... & security companies in the border security market and ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... March 15, 2016 Yissum Research Development ... technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced today the ... sensing technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies ... million from private investors. ... the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder of ... board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by the National Board of ... to going above and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority ... announced that Charles W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors ... 2016. As an executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... heart attacks, diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester ... cells into engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media ... The new Media Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company ... analysis. The re-branding components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web ...
Breaking Biology Technology: