Navigation Links
Scientists discover enzyme that 'cleans' cancer cells
Date:2/1/2010

Dr Jorg Hartkamp and Dr Stefan Roberts have found that the protease HtrA2 can "clean" cells of the oncogene WT1, which is found at high levels in many leukaemias and solid cancers such as breast and lung cancer.

Their work has given drug designers a new target which will allow them to develop treatments for all these cancers in which WT1 expression is elevated.

WT1 is a well-known factor in cancer, having been discovered 20 years ago. It suppresses the development of Wilms' tumour of the kidney, a rare cancer that affects one in 10,000 children. However it has a cancer causing role in other forms of the disease, particularly leukemias such as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

In addition high expression of WT1 is associated with a bad prognosis in AML patients, while trials using peptide vaccines against WT1 in patients with lung cancer, breast cancer and leukaemia were promising.

This latest study published in the journal Molecular Cell and funded by the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the Association of International Cancer Research (AICR) is the first to identify the enzyme that can rid cells of WT1.

Dr Hartkamp, at the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "The cancer causing role of WT1 has been known for many years, but how it worked was not understood so we studied a regulatory domain of WT1 to see what modified its activity. We carried out a fishing experiment and discovered the role of the protease HtrA2 instead, by accident. This discovery has a much bigger impact.

"We have filled in the black box of WT1. It is this protease that is doing the trick it can clean cells of WT1."

Dr Roberts, who initiated the work at Manchester and is now at the University at Buffalo, added: "There are great prognostic implications in leukaemias but this protease may have even more targets. It is unlikely that a protease cleaves only one transcription factor such as WT1."

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: "This research sheds new light about how levels of WT1 are controlled and will help us understand more about its role in cancer. Although still at an early stage, this research is an exciting advance and could help to improve the treatment of types of cancer where WT1 is known to have an influence."

AICR's Scientific Adviser Dr Mark Matfield said: "This exciting new finding shows why it is so important to carry out basic research into cancer. More and more these days, we see basic research discovering something unexpected about cancer that could be a major new step forward. The more we find out about cancer the closer we get to beating it."

The team plans to study HtrA2 further, to find out how it is inactivated in cancer cells (allowing WT1 to proliferate) and what other targets HtrA2 has. This will help pharmaceutical companies design a drug to reactivate HtrA2 and apply the protease to different diseases.

It is hoped that patients will be screened for a high level of WT1 and, if this is the case, clinicians can reactivate HtrA2. And as WT1 expression is low in healthy adults, oncogenic expression of WT1 has been found to be tumour specific so targeting WT1 will be less damaging to the patient's general health.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mikaela Sitford
Mikaela.Sitford@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-211
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
2. Scientists Probe Sepsis Deadly Secrets
3. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
4. Scientists Develop Natural Protection for Stored Foods
5. Scientists detect presence of marburg virus in african fruit bats
6. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
7. Scientists ID Likely Culprit in Popcorn Lung
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
10. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
11. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent freestanding emergency ... its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce Dr. Ogunleye ... M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , Dr. Ogunleye ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Montreal, Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high ... low, risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce ... program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers ... of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Living, is proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic ... most beautiful women in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Bracket , a leading ... next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, ... June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully integrate ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for electronic ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. Colombia ... ... ... ... Astellas is a pharmaceutical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MEDIA, Pa. , June 23, 2016 ... treatments in an outpatient dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually ... to 6 hours per visit, including travel time, equipment ... on a patient, but especially grueling for patients who ... residents of a skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: