Navigation Links
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Receives Grant to Study Genetic Changes that Drive Cancer Cells to Proliferate
Date:8/6/2015

Taking aim at the fundamental biology of cancer cells, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $747,000 to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for a three-year research project to explore the molecular mechanisms associated with the genetic mutations and chromosome instability observed in all cancer cells. The goal is to turn the genetic tables against cancer by learning more about the molecular basis of cancer cells' uncontrolled growth so that knowledge could one day bolster the effectiveness of cancer treatments and improve patient outcomes.

Led by Amity Manning, PhD, assistant professor of biology and biotechnology at WPI, the research will examine how specific molecules can change the way DNA is packaged and organized within cells causing genetic errors that can, in turn, transform normal cells into cancer cells. The study will also explore whether the same factors that affect DNA and cause chromosomal instability can be controlled to make cancer cells more susceptible to existing chemotherapy drugs.

“These are basic studies that we hope will give us a better understanding of the genetic changes and cellular processes that allow cancers to grow and spread,” Manning said. “The more we understand about the changing biology of the cancer cells, the more leverage we will have in treating the disease.”

A fundamental feature of all cancers is uncontrolled, aberrant cell division. When human cells divide normally, their chromosomes (DNA) are duplicated accurately, neatly organized into pairs, and then pulled apart into two equal groups that form the nuclei of two normally functioning daughter cells.

When the cell-division process goes wrong, errors in DNA duplication can spawn mutant genes that drive cells to abandon their normal processes. These anomalous cells divide out of control and take over surrounding tissue—the hallmark of cancer. Problems during cell division can also disrupt the organization of chromosomes, producing daughter cells with more or fewer than the normal number. This chromosomal instability can also be a precursor of cancer.

As cancer cells multiply unchecked, they can also undergo additional genetic mutations and chromosomal instability, giving the growing tumor an ever-changing genetic profile that can make it resistant to chemotherapy drugs. As a result, a drug that is initially effective against a known type of cancer may lose its effectiveness over time, allowing the cancer to recur.

In her previous work as a post-doctoral researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, Manning identified several DNA regulatory molecules that are common to many solid-tumor cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer. Those molecules appear to play a role in chromosomal instability, genetic mutations, and drug resistance that are characteristic of these cancers.

In the new NIH-funded project at WPI, Manning and her lab team will build on that work by using genetic screening techniques to further test those molecules, and to search for additional molecules that change the way DNA is packaged and processed in cancer cells. They will also see whether reducing those molecules, and thereby increasing genetic stability in cancer cells, has an effect on the cells' long-term survival. Finally, they will determine whether manipulating these regulatory molecules can make cancer cells less able to resist the therapeutic effect of chemotherapy drugs.

“Chromosomal instability gives cancer cells an advantage,” Manning said. “It enables the cells to grow and spread in ways that evade the body’s natural defenses and resist the drugs we throw at them. We have to find out what the cancer cells know, so that we can fight back.”

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation’s first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 40 WPI project centers in the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

Contact:
Michael Cohen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-868-4778, mcohen(at)wpi(dot)edu

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12891756.htm.


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2015 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Partners with Bio-Process Systems Alliance to Lead Educational Program Development
2. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Co-directs Study That Provides New Insights into the Genetics of Drug-Resistant Fungal Infections
3. Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Biomanufacturing Expertise to be Featured in Berlin
4. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Participates in Clinical Trial for MRI-Compatible Robot Designed to Improve Accuracy of Prostate Cancer Biopsies
5. Worcester Polytechnic Institute to Lead Scientific Workshop on Nanoscale Defenses for Biological and Chemical Threats
6. AbbVie Announces Inaugural Week of Possibilities Volunteer Program to Support Six Schools in North Chicago, Ill., and Worcester, Mass.
7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Receives NIH Grant to Study Components of a Potentially Potent and Cost-Effective Malaria Treatment
8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Tanja Dominko Named Slovenian Ambassador of Science for 2013
9. Averica Discovery Services and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Establish Research Collaboration
10. The Sullivan Institute, WEDI, HIMSS, MGMA Unveil Pilot Design for Virtual Clipboard Initiative
11. Elsevier and US National Cancer Institute Implement Reciprocal Linking Between Research Articles and Datasets
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/3/2018)... FALLS CHURCH, Va. (PRWEB) , ... November 01, ... ... for the first-ever Metrics Champion Consortium Summit. Dr. Jean Mulinde, Senior Advisor, Division ... assess and manage risk, monitor safety and ensure data reliability. , What should ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... ... October 30, 2018 , ... Myoscience, Inc. announced ... Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee. This study enrolled 125 patients and compares ... for managing pain after total knee replacement surgery (TKA). , The Myoscience iovera° ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... ... October 30, 2018 , ... Today, the National Corn Growers ... of this global competition is to find new and innovative uses of field corn. ... farmers produced 14.6 billion bushels of corn and are on pace to produce the ...
(Date:10/24/2018)... ... October 22, 2018 , ... ... company’s Lunula Laser was featured on an episode of CBS’s hit show ... Dr. Glynis R. Ablon, MD , discusses and demonstrates the Lunula Laser’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/7/2018)... Utah and BOSTON, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November ... ... in delivering cloud-based enterprise-class unified communications and collaboration solutions, announced today a modernized ... white label exclusive website and a newly established reseller administrative control ...
(Date:11/7/2018)... ... 2018 , ... The awards were presented by BioInformatics Inc., ... event was attended by 150 industry executives from leading life science companies that ... winners were determined by responses to an online ballot completed by almost two ...
(Date:11/6/2018)... ... 06, 2018 , ... Hematology analyzers can collect vast amounts ... perform a complete blood count (CBC) and classify multiple cell types, including more ... improved flagging of abnormal results to aid further microscopic review. , Abbott’s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):