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American Urological Association/Engineering & Urological Society 2009 -- news tips
Date:4/25/2009

The following tips are on abstracts or posters to be presented at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting 2009, April 25-30, or the concurrent Engineering & Urology Society Annual Meeting 2009, April 25, Chicago, Ill.

GIVING PROSTATE CANCER THE COLD SHOULDER

--"Cold shock" proteins could be new target in cancer fight

AUA Meeting, April 27, 8:00 10:00 A.M., Moderated Poster Session 25, #727, W183 B @ McCormick Place West

Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a new Achilles heel in the battle against prostate cancer: a family of "cold shock" proteins that, when turned down through genetic techniques, weaken cancer cells and make them more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

The team of scientists, led by Robert H. Getzenberg, Ph.D., and postdoctoral fellow Yu Zeng, M.D., Ph.D., in the Department of Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, were inspired to pursue this new target by recent studies on testicular cancer showing that heat substantially weakens these cells and makes them easier to kill. Researchers have speculated that this vulnerability may be responsible for the high cure rates observed in men with testicular cancer, even when this cancer has metastasized throughout the body.

Wondering whether heat has a similar effect on prostate cancer cells, Zeng and his colleagues warmed cells sampled from patients and monitored the activity of thousands of genes. The scientists found an increase in the expression of genes that control production of heat shock proteins, but they also discovered a decrease in the expression of genes that control production of cold shock proteins. These proteins are normally produced in response to extreme cold to protect the cell against damage.

Using a genetic technique to reduce the activity of the cold shock genes in prostate cancer cells without changing the cells' temperature, the researchers found that these cells grew only half a
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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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