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:6/9/2016)... 2016 Paris Police Prefecture ... security solution to ensure the safety of people and operations ... the major tournament Teleste, an international technology group ... announced today that its video security solution will be utilised ... up public safety across the country. The system roll-out is ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 The Department of ... awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned ... Decatur was selected for the most ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... -- Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With Implementation ... to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By End ... - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected to ... growing security concerns across various end use sectors such ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension ... are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension ... bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
Breaking Biology Technology: