Barcelona, Spain: Italian scientists will announce today (Monday September 24) that they have found a new and promising target for anti-tumour therapy in cancer. Professor Saverio Alberti, from the CESI, University of Chieti Foundation, Chieti, will tell the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) that he and his team have found a widespread mechanism for the stimulation of tumour growth in man, and that this is leading to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Professor Alberti and his team have discovered the function of the Trop-2 gene, a product of the TACTD2 gene, which is expressed in placenta, an invasive normal tissue. The function of Trop-2 was a mystery until now, says Professor Alberti, but knowing its expression in the trophoblast (cells forming the outer layer of the blastocyst the stage between the fertilised egg and the embryo) during pregnancy, we thought that it might well be involved in another invasive function tumour growth.
The scientists analysed the genes in human tumours and found that Trop-2 was expressed in the vast majority of human cancers, for example, breast, colon, stomach, lung, prostate, ovary, endometrium, uterine cervix and pancreas. Over-expression of the Trop-2 gene was also found when immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of 1,755 tumours was undertaken. IHC analysis looks at the interaction of antibodies and antigens in tissues, and has the advantage of showing exactly where in a tissue a given protein is located. This has allowed us to develop anti-Trop-2 monoclonal antibodies for immunotherapy (modulation of the immune system to reject and destroy tumours) of Trop-2 expressing tumours, explains Professor Alberti.
Trop-2 over-expression was found in between 65% and 90% of the tumour types analysed, with an average of 74% across the board. These figures are high, explains Professor Alberti. In comparison, telomerase over-expression, possibly the most fundamental mechanism
|Contact: Mary Rice|
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference