Navigation Links
Zombie cancer cells eat themselves to live
Date:4/5/2014

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cell Reports and presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Conference 2014 shows that the cellular process of autophagy in which cells "eat" parts of themselves in times of stress may allow cancer cells to recover and divide rather than die when faced with chemotherapies.

Autophagy, from the Greek "to eat oneself," is a process of cellular recycling in which cell organelles called autophagosomes encapsulate extra or dangerous material and transport it to the cell's lysosomes for disposable. Like tearing apart a Lego kit, autophagy breaks down unneeded cellular components into building blocks of energy or proteins for use in surviving times of low energy or staying safe from poisons and pathogens (among other uses).

"What we showed is that if this mechanism doesn't work right, for example if autophagy is too high or if the target regulated by autophagy isn't around, cancer cells may be able to rescue themselves from death caused by chemotherapies," says Andrew Thorburn, PhD, deputy director of the CU Cancer Center.

A movie that accompanies the study online shows a cancer cell dying. In the first few frames, mitochondrial cell walls break down and the cell's mitochondria can be seen releasing proteins in a process abbreviated as MOMP, which is considered a common marker of cell death. But then high autophagy allows the cell to encapsulate and "digest" these released proteins before MOMP can keep the cell well and truly dead. Later in the movie, the cancer cell recovers and goes on to divide.

"The implication here is that if you inhibit autophagy you'd make this less likely to happen, i.e. when you kill cancer cells they would stay dead," Thorburn says.

Thorburn and colleagues including postdoctoral researcher Jacob Gump, PhD, show that autophagy depends on the target PUMA to regulate cell death. Specifically, when PUMA is absent, it doesn't matter if autophagy is inhibited because without the communicating action of PUMA, cancer cells continue to survive.

The finding has important implications. First, it demonstrates a mechanism whereby autophagy controls cell death. And second, the study further reinforces the clinical potential of inhibiting autophagy to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy.

"Autophagy is complex and as yet not fully understood," Thorburn says. "But now that we see a molecular mechanism whereby cell-fate can be determined by autophagy, we hope to discover patient populations that could benefit from drugs that inhibit this action."


'/>"/>

Contact: Garth Sundem
garth.sundem@ucdenver.edu
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Want to survive the zombie apocalypse? This cologne could be the key (video)
2. Sleep may stop chronic pain sufferers from becoming zombies
3. Tortoise and the hare: New drug stops rushing cancer cells, slow and steady healthy cells unharmed
4. Embryonic development protein active in cancer growth
5. BRG1 mutations confer resistance to hormones in lung cancer
6. Genetic variation in East Asians found to explain resistance to cancer drugs
7. Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis
8. Marshall University study may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer
9. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
10. Penn research points to new way of preserving fertility for boys undergoing cancer treatment
11. Genetic abnormality offers diagnostic hope for childrens cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2017)... Massachusetts , February 1, 2017 IDTechEx ... events on emerging technology, announces the availability of a new report, ... Continue Reading ... ... in industrial and collaborative robots. Source: IDTechEx Report "Sensors for Robotics: ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... , Jan. 25, 2017 The Elements of ... (IAM) lifecycle is comprised of a comprehensive set ... purpose of maintaining digital identities and providing a ... applications. There are significant number of programs opted ... to time by optimizing processes and changing policies. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 19, 2017 According to a new report published by ... - 2022," the global biometric sensor market is expected to garner $1.5 billion ... 2015, Asia-Pacific dominated the global market and contributed over ... Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... 22, 2017 Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... study that validated the ability of the Aethlon HemopurifierĀ® ... increased mortality in immune-suppressed sepsis patients and also contribute ... The objective of the study was to validate the ... virus (EBV) and Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV1) by ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... Pharma and biotech consulting firm ... Operating from Pennsideā€™s Zurich headquarters, Pennside Partners, GmbH, Mr. Perkins brings 14 years ... than a decade with leading market research firm, GfK. He began his pharma ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 22, 2017  United ... announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ... annual 2016 financial results reflect continued growth as ... $700 million," said Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., United Therapeutics, ... strengthen our ability to develop and advance our ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; OTCQX: ... months ended December 31, 2016. SQI is ... company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for ... ... milestones achieved in fiscal 2016," said Andrew Morris , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: