Navigation Links
Wistar researchers follow a path to a potential therapy for NF2, a rare tumor disorder

PHILADELPHIA (April 15, 2011) The proteins that provide cells with a sense of personal space could lead to a therapeutic target for Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), an inherited cancer disorder, according to researchers at The Wistar Institute. Their findings, which appear in the April 12 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, could have profound implications for NF2 and related cancers, such as mesothelioma.

The researchers describe, for the first time, that Merlin, the protein encoded within the NF2 gene interacts with a protein called angiomotin. This connection between Merlin and angiomotin also brings together two important information networks in cells, both of which have been implicated in numerous forms of cancer. It is a connection, the researchers say, between the sensors that detect interactions between cells and the signaling networks that drive cell division.

"Angiomotin is required for movement of cells that form new blood vessels, so it is fascinating to see it so closely linked to merlin, the product of the NF2 gene, loss of which leads to tumor formation," said Joseph Kissil, Ph.D., senior author of the study and associate professor in the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center. "The discovery opens up a potential new method to treat NF2 by attacking the tumor cells directly and by starvation, a strategy already employed in certain cancer therapies."

"Drugs like Avastin, for example, target the growing blood vessels," Kissil said, "but what makes angiomotin a tempting target is that it is used by both blood vessels and the growing tumor cells that need the nutrients these blood vessels provide."

NF2 is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in both copies of a person's NF2 gene. It occurs in about one in every 30,000 people, and it is mostly hereditary. NF2 generally appears as benign tumors in the nervous system of young adults, often causing deafness as tumors affect the auditory nerves. While the tumors are mostly benign, more malignant tumors may eventually arise. Moreover, even the benign tumors often cause debilitating pain as they spread throughout the nervous system. There is currently no treatment for NF2 other than surgery to remove tumors as they appear.

Mutations in the NF2 gene disrupt the function of the gene's protein product, Merlin, which is part of an elaborate molecular signaling pathway that regulates how cells grow and divide. These pathways are akin to information channels, and disrupting one protein can alter the function of other proteins both upstream and downstream along the channel. Merlin is particularly interesting to cancer biologists, as the mutations have been found in about half of all cases of the deadly lung cancer mesothelioma, and in some instances of thyroid, bladder and other cancers.

According to Kissil, Merlin normally stops cells from growing once they come into contact with adjacent cells. That is, Merlin binds to the angiomotin at "junctions," areas where cells come into contact with each other. When bound together, the interacting proteins relate a signal to the cell that, essentially, orders it to cease further growth and movement. It is a way for cells to coordinate their growth within a tissue. Cancerous cells, for example, often lack that sense of inhibition, and they will continue growing unchecked.

The Kissil laboratory plans to continue their exploration of angiomotin as a potential therapeutic target for treating NF2, as well as look into the role of angiomotin in other cancers known to be affected by NF2 mutations.


Contact: Greg Lester
The Wistar Institute

Related medicine news :

1. Wistar researchers discover new class of objects encoded within the genome
2. Wistar scientists explain the persistence of melanoma through dynamic stemness
3. Whales Not Just Singing the Same Old Song, Researchers Say
4. Boston University researchers find most substance-dependent individuals report poor oral health
5. University of Granada researchers make the first bioartificial organ in Spain
6. Queens researchers pioneer needle-free test for premature babies
7. Mechanism for invasion of tumorous cells discovered by Hebrew University researchers
8. Researchers find anatomic differences after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy
9. Researchers present new findings on cancer and gene therapy
10. Fox Chase researchers find that fish oil boosts responses to breast cancer drug tamoxifen
11. Fox Chase researchers report that naproxen reduces tumors in a mouse model of colon cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... annual fundraising campaign to raise funds for its research, education, support, and advocacy ... the organization’s annual funding. , The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, which also goes ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Cycling, running, and walking are regular ... meaning the morning of February 28, 2016. , That’s when the 7th annual ... will exercise to help children and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... has been picked up by athletic teams looking to maximize recovery through quality ... athletes recover faster and consistently get a better night’s sleep. ChiliPad precisely regulates ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... dentistry out of Glen Ridge, NJ. He has both advanced training and ... mastication. He is also an expert in cosmetic dentistry. He is an ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Simi Valley, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... never imaged she would be: at the David Lynch Foundation, learning Transcendental Meditation (TM). ... she should learn to walk the walk so that she could talk the talk. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Booth #4303 – The Imaging Components business ... a broader array of products in a new booth (#4303) ... North America in Chicago ... feature X-ray components "At the Heart of Imaging." Products will ... from Varian,s Claymount brand, and computer-aided diagnostic software from MeVis ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... NAMUR , Belgium , Nov. 30, ... life sciences company focused on developing blood-based diagnostic tests for ... announced the Company will present at the LD Micro Conference, ... Los Angeles, CA. Attending from VolitionRx will ... and Scott Powell , Vice President of Investor Relations. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and REHOVOT, Israel , ... specialty pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring and developing innovative ... announced the appointment of Keith A. Katkin ... Gregory J. Flesher , chief executive officer for ... building successful organizations.  As chairman, he will be able ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: