Navigation Links
No relaxing for cancer cells

Many tumor cells would not be viable due to aberrant chromosome distribution if they had not developed a special trick. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have investigated which genes are responsible for this survival strategy of cancer cells. The revealed that cancer cells rely on the tension of specific protein fibers to be able to multiply. Thus, proteins which maintain this tension are promising targets for new, target-specific anticancer drugs: If they are switched off, cancer cells die.

The two centrosomes of a cell are responsible for cell division to proceed correctly. From these polar bodies in the cytoplasm protein fibers form which correctly distribute the duplicated chromosome set to the newly forming daughter cells. Seen under the microscope, these fibers have the shape of a spindle. Cancer cells, however, often have more than two centrosomes. As a result, their spindle fibers do not necessarily assume the normal shape of a spindle with two poles; instead, they can have a dysfunctional, multipolar shape. Such malformed spindles distribute the chromosomes unevenly among the daughter cells, which are then no longer viable.

Hence, tumor cells only survive if they manage to partition their chromosomes correctly in spite of extra centrosomes. To do so, many cancer cells have developed a special trick: They form clusters of centrosomes. Two clusters are formed per cell and a functioning bipolar spindle can develop between these two. Professor Dr. Alwin Krmer, head of a Clinical Cooperation Unit of DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospitals has recognized this trick as a previously underrated Achilles' heel of cancer cells, which might be used for destroying them. Jointly with colleagues from DKFZ, Heidelberg University Hospitals, Mannheim Medical Faculty and Mayo Clinic in the U.S., he systematically investigated the question of which genes enable cancer cells to form centrosome clusters and, thus, to escape cell death.

With the support of researchers from the division of Professor Dr. Michael Boutros, DKFZ and Mannheim Medical Faculty, the investigators switched off each individual gene of the cancer cells. Then they searched under the microscope for multipolar, malformed spindles. They found 82 genes which play a role in centrosome clustering. The team took a closer look at 22 of these and investigated their particular role in clustering. In the process, the scientists discovered a key mechanism: For the centrosomes to be bundled into clusters, the spindle fibers need to be under tension. Only tightly stretched spindle fibers will position the centrosomes close enough to each other for clusters to form. A whole range of proteins are responsible for this tension. If their genes are silenced, multipolar spindles form and the cancer cells die. This mechanism might be used for developing new cancer therapies.

"Such a therapy would hit the cancer very specifically, because only tumor cells have extra centrosomes and depend on the survival trick of clustering," study head Alwin Krmer explains. In the framework of a strategic alliance of DKFZ with Bayer-Schering, the researchers in Krmer's team are now planning to look among the identified genes for suitable targets for a targeted cancer therapy.


Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstaedt
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Related biology news :

1. Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. ESF EURYI award winner aims to stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
4. Protein chatter linked to cancer activation
5. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
6. Western diet linked to increased risk of colon cancer recurrence
7. Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
8. Low levels of key protein may indicate pancreatic cancer risk
9. Birth records hold pancreatic cancer clue
10. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
11. A new radiation therapy treatment developed for head and neck cancer patients
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/9/2016)... May 9, 2016 Elevay is ... to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals seeking ... today,s globally connected world, there is still no substitute ... ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm handshake. ... by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs like ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... DUBLIN , April 27, 2016 ... of the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report ... ) , The analysts forecast ... a CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... a number of sectors such as the healthcare, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. ... the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ... entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of ... their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been ... Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
Breaking Biology Technology: