Tue, Feb 21, 2017 | updated 01:41 PM IST

Discovery of ovarian cancer target paves way for new treatment

Updated: Jul 11, 2016 08:19 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 11 (ANI): A team of researchers has brought fresh hope in the form of a new treatment target for ovarian cancer aka "the silent killer."

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory arrived at "new insights into signalling events that underlie metastasis in ovarian cancer cells," said researcher Gaofeng Fan.

"The statistics point to the urgent need to address advanced disease - metastasis - in ovarian cancer," Fan noted, adding "The problem is especially difficult because of a feature specific to this form of cancer: ovarian cells move around readily within the peritoneal cavity, via the peritoneal fluid, both under normal conditions, and also, unfortunately, when cancer is present. Thus, in addition to being able to colonize other sites in the body via blood vessels, ovarian cancer cells have another way of migrating. It's very hard to render patients free of the disease via surgery due to this diffusion feature."

The team found a previously undiscovered pathway, through which ovarian cells can be transformed into cancer cells, one they think provides an excellent opportunity for targeting by new drugs, which, when combined with others now in development, may be able to stave off metastatic disease.

The newly uncovered pathway depends on activity of a protein called FER, a member of a family of proteins (called non-receptor tyrosine kinases) that add phosphate groups to other proteins. FER can be found floating in the cytoplasm of cells, and in a series of initial experiments, Fan and the team demonstrated that it is both "upregulated," i.e., overproduced, in ovarian cancer cells, and, importantly, responsible for the elevated motility and invasiveness of such cells. This was observed in human ovarian cancer cells grown in culture, and then in mouse models of the disease.

The key discovery made by the team is that FER is able to activate a receptor on the surface of ovarian cells "from below," as it were - by interacting with a portion of the receptor that penetrates the cell membrane and plunges into the cytoplasm. That receptor is a well known target in ovarian cancer. Called MET, it is typically activated when a growth factor called HGF binds it at the cell surface. MET is overexpressed in up to 60% of ovarian tumors and its activation has been implicated in both cancer initiation and in advanced cancers with poor prognosis.

"We showed FER was essential for ovarian cancer cell motility and invasiveness, both in vitro and in vivo," Researcher Nicholas K. Tonks said.

He added, "Considering that frequent amplification of MET accounts for resistance to therapies now in development and to poor prognosis, not only in ovarian cancer but in other cancers too, our findings pinpoint an important new signaling hub, involving the role of FER in MET activation. This may provide a novel strategy for therapeutic intervention, perhaps a drug to suppress FER being administered along with a MET inhibitor."

The study appears in the journal Genes and Development. (ANI)

Chronic knee pain may be treated online

Updated: Feb 21, 2017 06:41 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 21 (ANI): A study has found out that an online intervention, combining home exercise and pain-coping skills training, provided substantial clinical benefits for patients suffering from chronic knee pain.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 21 (ANI): Only exercise is not enough to maintain that figure, which is an after effect of much toil and sweat!

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 20 (ANI): With rising life expectancy, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and surge in incidence of obesity, India is also witnessing a resultant rise in orthopedic problems as a natural corollary.

Full Story >>

Children inherit obesity from parents: Study

Updated: Feb 20, 2017 14:54 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 20 (ANI): A study reveals that 35-40 percent of a child's 'Body Mass Index' - how fat or thin they are - is inherited from their parents.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): Good news for all those lazy-headed not-really-a-cleanliness-freak out there! Scientists have found out that the obsession with hygiene could even be turning some beneficial bacteria found in the human gut into "endangered species".

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): In order to persuade someone to quit smoking, it is the 'emotions' that need to be triggered rather than inciting fear in an individual.

Full Story >>

No difference between good or bad diet: Study

Updated: Feb 20, 2017 05:54 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): Ever faced a choice between Brown and white bread?

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 19 (ANI): To boost sustainability of livestock production, a study finds that gene editing - one of the newest and most promising tools of biotechnology - enables animal breeders to make beneficial genetic changes, without bringing along unwanted genetic changes.

Full Story >>

People with ADHD may have smaller brain volume

Updated: Feb 19, 2017 07:09 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): In a latest study it has been found out that people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have smaller brain volume than those without the disorder.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): What if we tell you that scientists can actually slow down the process of ageing. Sounds too good to be true right?

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): Lefty or righty? Well it was decided when you were still in your mum's womb!

Full Story >>

Dads-to be face greater risk of depression

Updated: Feb 19, 2017 06:53 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): Expecting a baby is always a joyous experience for both the mother and the father, however a latest study has found out that fathers-to-be can be at risk of depression symptoms if they feel stressed or are in poor health.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): Do you find it difficult hearing out people at a noisy bar or a restaurant even though you have passed the hearing test with flying colors? Well, you might be secretly deaf!

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): What if we told you that rice has the potential of carrying arsenic and is more than hazardous to feed it to infants!

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): Now you can save your kid from surgery, as a study shows that antibiotics may be an effective treatment for acute non-complicated appendicitis in children, instead of surgery.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): Attention new mommies, sing lullabies to your new born to feel more connected to your babies, suggests a study.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): Cancer patients can improve their quality of life with just 30 minutes of walking, suggests a study.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 17 (ANI): Birth of a baby may be a sweet moment but changing life style of women is posing 'sweet' challenge to it.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 17 (ANI): Good news! A recent study shows that antibiotics may be an effective treatment for acute non-complicated appendicitis in children, instead of surgery.

Full Story >>

'Seagrass' can improve marine water quality

Updated: Feb 17, 2017 07:07 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): Underwater flowering plants and seagrass meadows known to produce natural antibiotics, can also improve the water quality of sea by suppressing pollution, reveals a study.

Full Story >>