Navigation Links
DNA end caps may lead to cancer treatments, UT Southwestern researchers report

The two ends of human DNA have different structures that are treated differently as a cell divides, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found in a study that could help lead to cancer therapies.

The study ?published in the Feb. 3 issue of the journal Molecular Cell ?focuses on the ends of DNA, which are capped by segments called telomeres. Each time the cell divides, the telomeres shorten. When they become too short, the aging cell can no longer divide. But in most cancer cells, an enzyme called telomerase keeps the telomeres from shortening, making the cells immortal and potentially malignant.

"Drugs that influence these mechanisms might be used to slow replicative aging in normal cells and increase the efficacy of telomerase-inhibition therapies for cancer," said Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology.

In human cells, every chromosome has a telomere at each end, and each telomere ends in a single-stranded overhang. (DNA is normally double-stranded.) The overhang at one end of the chromosome is longer than at the other.

"Understanding the structure of the overhang is clearly very important for our ultimate ability to understand and manipulate these things for a variety of purposes," Dr. Wright said.

The researchers believe that the rate of shortening is influenced by the length of the overhang ?more DNA is lost from ends that have longer overhangs. Telomerase also changed the relative size of the two tails.

"We need to understand how this size is regulated, since we would like to be able to manipulate it for therapeutic purposes," he said.

Dr. Wright and his collaborator, Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology, are world-renowned for their work on telomeres and telomerase. They helped develop an anti-telomerase drug that helps slow the spread of lung cancer cells in mice. The drug is being tested in humans to see if it's safe.

The researchers say that any anti-telomerase dr ug would not be used alone to treat cancer. Rather, it would be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, to ensure that any cells not killed by those treatments don't spread to other tissues.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Weihang Chai, instructor of cell biology, and former senior research associate Qun Du, now with Cumbre Inc.


Source:UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Viral DNA sequence a possible trigger for breast cancer
2. Enzyme, lost in most mammals, is shown to protect against UV-induced skin cancer
3. Its not all genetic: Common epigenetic problem doubles cancer risk in mice
4. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
5. Combination therapy boosts effectiveness of telomere-directed cancer cell death
6. Mitochondrial DNA mutations play significant role in prostate cancer
7. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
8. BRCA1 causes ovarian cancer through indirect, biochemical route
9. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
10. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.
11. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... from 17 th until 19 th November 2015.   ... the first combined scanner in the world which scans both ... two different scanners were required: one for passports and one ... same surface. This innovation is an ideal solution for electronic ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; ... and prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the ... recently received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC ... of the final interim efficacy and safety data ... in men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest share ... The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations is ... volume share for the region in the short ... in the CRO industry will improve. ... ), finds that the market earned revenues ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper ... unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With ... Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture ... develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. ... to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super ...
Breaking Biology Technology: