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Espaço de publicação e discussão sobre oncologia. GBM IMMUNOTHERAPY ONCO-VIRUS ONCOLOGY CANCER CHEMOTHERAPY RADIOTHERAPY


Quinta-feira, 23.07.15

Emory University immunologists identify long-lived antibody-producing cells in bone marrow

 

Emory University immunologists identify long-lived antibody-producing cells in bone marrow

Published on July 16, 2015 at 2:40 AM · 

Immunologists from Emory University have identified a distinct set of long-lived antibody-producing cells in the human bone marrow that function as an immune archive.

The cells keep a catalog of how an adult's immune system responded to infections decades ago in childhood encounters with measles or mumps viruses. The results, published Tuesday, July 14 in , could provide vaccine designers with a goalpost when aiming for long-lasting antibody production.

"If you're developing a vaccine, you want to fill up this compartment with cells that respond to your target antigen," says co-senior author F. Eun-Hyung Lee, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and director of Emory Healthcare's Asthma, Allergy and Immunology program.

The findings could advance investigation of autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis, by better defining the cells that produce auto-reactive antibodies.

Co-senior author of the Immunity paper is Iñaki Sanz, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Mason I. Lowance Chair of Allergy and Immunology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. The research was started when Lee, Sanz and colleagues were investigators at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and continued when they arrived at Emory in 2012. The first author of the paper is Jessica Halliley, MS from Rochester.

As described in part of the Immunity paper, the researchers studied 11 older individuals (aged 43 to 70) who had not been immunized against measles or mumps, but who had antibodies in their blood indicating infection by those viruses in childhood. Measles and mumps vaccines first became available in the 1960s.

Antibodies in the blood have a half-life of just a few weeks, so researchers thought these individuals had long-lived plasma cells, or white blood cells secreting antibodies, dating from the childhood infection.

Examining bone marrow samples obtained from these volunteers, researchers divided plasma cells into four different groups based on the proteins found on their surfaces. Only one group ("subset D", CD19-, CD38high, CD138+) contained the cells that produce antibodies that react with measles or mumps virus.

"I like to call this group of cells the 'historical record' of infection or vaccination," Lee says.

In contrast, cells producing anti-influenza antibodies were found spread across three of the subsets. Because study participants were likely to have been exposed to influenza by annual vaccination or infection more recently than measles or mumps, the researchers inferred that cells specific to recent exposures can reside in multiple subsets while subset D represents the long-lived plasma cells.

In separate experiments, volunteers who were vaccinated against tetanus did have some plasma cells producing anti-tetanus antibodies within three weeks in several subsets, but over time tetanus-specific plasma cells were found in subset D.

The team proved that subset D cells were exclusively responsible for producing the measles- and mumps-specific antibodies in the blood of one of the older volunteers, through proteomics and RNA sequencing techniques.

Compared with other subsets, subset D cells are more quiescent: they displayed less signs of proliferation. In addition, subset D cells have a distinct "fried egg" appearance, containing bubble-like vacuoles or lipid droplets, which are rare in bone marrow cell samples, and a tighter, more condensed nucleus than other white blood cells.

Plasma cells differ from many other cells in the body in that they undergo changes in their DNA -- specifically, their antibody genes. In the patients the researchers examined, antibody genes from subset D are much more diverse than those from other plasma cells. Lee says this finding also reflects subset D's role as an archive, which does not devote too much cellular space to any one vaccination or infection.

Source:

Emory Health Sciences

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por cyto às 22:43

Terça-feira, 21.07.15

Study stresses importance of investigating telomeres to improve diagnoses, develop treatments for many diseases

 

Study stresses importance of investigating telomeres to improve diagnoses, develop treatments for many diseases

Published on July 16, 2015 at 3:04 AM 

Studying telomeres, the structures that protect the ends of chromosomes, has become a key issue in biology. In recent years, not only has their relation to ageing been confirmed; defective telomeres seem to be linked to more and more illnesses, including many types of cancer. The review published by Paula Martínez and María Blasco from the CNIO in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, stresses the importance of investigating these structures to improve diagnoses and develop possible treatments for many diseases. Telomeres, in the opinion of these researchers, will become increasingly important in clinical studies.

The chromosomes in every single cell are made up of DNA and shaped like strands, with a kind of protective cap at the end of each strand of DNA. Without this end protective cap, the DNA strands would chemically bond to other strands, i.e. the chromosomes would merge and that would be lethal for the cell. The structures that prevent this catastrophe are the telomeres. They were discovered in the 1930s but decades elapsed before someone decided to study them in any depth and since the late 1990s they have always been on the cutting edge of biology research. Biologists are often surprised by their amazing and unexpected complexity, and their health-related significance.

"The biology of telomeres is extremely complex and the more we discover the more we realise what remains to be discovered", says Paula Martínez from CNIO's Telomere and Telomerase Group. "What surprises me most is the high number of factors we are finding that are essential to the preservation of telomeres and, above all, the precise coordination that is required between them all".

The fact that telomeres have been tightly preserved throughout the evolutionary tree -in most eukaryotes: vertebrates, plants and even unicellular organisms such as yeast- indicates their importance. In addition to preventing the merger of chromosomes, telomeres are needed to prevent the loss of genetic information each time a cell divides.

PREVENTING INFORMATION LOSS

When a cell replicates, the molecular machinery in charge of duplicating the chromosomes - so that each daughter cell has a copy -cannot reach the tip. This is inherently impossible due to the way the DNA replication machinery works, and it implies that any genetic material at the end of a chromosome with significant information for the cell would be lost. Telomeres prevent this from happening: they consist of a DNA sequence that does not contain genes and that is repeated numerous times- in humans and other species the sequence is TTAGGG; the letters correspond to three of the building blocks that make up the DNA: thymine, adenine and guanine.

Consequently, the shortening of the DNA with every division is not significant. At least not until a certain limit is reached. When the telomeres become too short, we see the problems associated with ageing: cells reach a point where they interpret critically short telomeres as irreparable damage and react by no longer dividing, which prevents tissue from regenerating.

This happens in healthy cells but not in cancer cells. There is an enzyme, telomerase, which is capable of lengthening the telomeres de novo. This enzyme is not present in most cells of an adult organism but it is active in tumour cells. By repairing the telomeres, the telomerase enables cancer cells to proliferate and become virtually immortal.

This link to ageing and cancer, has led to the intense study of telomere-based strategies to combat cancer and diseases associated with ageing. Blasco's group has recently shown that it is possible to make cancer cells mortal by acting on the telomeres.

ZOOMING IN TO THE TIP OF THE BUFFER

The above-mentioned description of telomeres however is a simplified version of the story. We now know that there is a protective structure enveloping telomeric DNA consisting of six proteins known as shelterins, which are crucial. Another more recent discovery is that there are proteins that, although not in the telomeres themselves, interact with them at specific times to enable them to perform their functions.

These proteins enable the telomeres to unwind, for example; because, the sequence repeated in telomeres, TTAGGG, ends in a single strand of DNA that curves forming a loop and connects to the original strand of the double chain forming a triple chain. "Yes, it is very complicated", admits Martínez. "Structures of up to four chains of DNA can form".

When a cell divides, the telomeres are also replicated. This implies that the end loop must unwind first and then form again. This process also contributes to the shortening of telomeres and we now know that some of the shelterins as well as other associated proteins that interact with telomeres are key elements in this process.

TELOMERE SYNDROMES

According to Martínez, "there is now more evidence about relationship between telomere maintenance and several illnesses".

Telomere syndromes, or telomeropathies, have been identified in patients with mutations of the telomerase enzyme. This group includes, for example, pulmonary fibrosis and problems related to the malfunction of the bone marrow. A direct relationship between telomere dysfunctions and many types of cancer has also been found. More recently, we have also discovered that mutations of the proteins that protect telomeric DNA, the shelterins, and those that interact with the telomeres, are linked to various diseases, such as dyskeratosis congenita, Hoyeraal-Hreidarsson syndrome or Revesz syndrome.

"These discoveries underline the plethora of components and pathways that control telomere functions", write the authors in the paper. "In the future, research will bring to light more unknown factors that will improve our understanding of the mechanisms governing cancer and syndromes linked to the shortening of telomeres. We hope that this knowledge will be transferred to the clinic in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases".

Source:

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO)

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por cyto às 18:18

Sábado, 04.07.15

gene mutation linked to anaplastic oligodendroglioma

Scientists identify gene mutation linked to anaplastic oligodendroglioma

Published on June 12, 2015 at 9:23 AM · 

Scientists have identified a gene mutation linked to the development of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Researchers found that errors in a gene known as TCF12 - which plays a key role in the formation of the embryonic brain are associated with more aggressive forms of a disease called anaplastic oligodendroglioma.

The new research is the largest ever genetic study of oligodendrogliomas, and provides important insights into their causes - and how they might be treated.

Oligodendrogliomas are fast-growing cancers that account for around 5-10 per cent of all tumours of the brain and central nervous system, and typically have a very poor prognosis.

Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, in collaboration with laboratories in France and Canada, compared the genetic sequence of 134 of these brain tumours with the DNA of healthy cells.

The study was largely funded by Investissements d'avenir and Génome Québec, with support from Cancer Research UK, and was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers identified mutations in the TCF12 gene in 7.5 per cent of anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. They found that this subset of cancers grew more rapidly, and in other ways seemed more aggressive, than those where the gene was intact.

TCF12 is the genetic code for a protein that binds to DNA and controls the activity of other genes. The researchers found that mutations in TCF12 rendered the protein less able to bind to DNA, and this in turn led to a reduction in activity of other key genes - including one already associated with cancer spread, known as CHD1.

The researchers initially read the DNA sequence of 51 tumours and went on to look for TCF12 mutations in an additional group of 83.

The researchers also discovered errors in the gene IDH1 in 78 per cent of the tumours, confirming the findings of an initial scan of the data.

Finding out more about what genetic faults cause anaplastic oligodendrogliomas will allow scientists and clinicians to develop new personalised therapies that target a range of the mutations driving the disease.

Professor Richard Houlston, Professor of Molecular and Population Genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"Our in-depth study has set out many of the genetic defects that cause this rare but highly aggressive form of brain cancer - including identifying a gene mutation that appears in particularly fast-growing forms.

"Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are difficult to remove by surgery and don't respond well to other forms of treatment. We hope this new information might be used to discover new targeted therapies, offering patients a better chance at survival from this aggressive cancer."

Source:

Institute of Cancer Research

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por cyto às 11:46

Sábado, 04.07.15

new protein that affects growth of secondary breast tumours in the brain

Scientists identify new protein that affects growth of secondary breast tumours in the brain

Published on July 1, 2015 at 7:19 AM 

Scientists from the University of Leeds and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have discovered a new protein which triggers the growth of blood vessels in breast cancer tumours which have spread to the brain, a common location which breast cancer can spread to.

Dr Georgia Mavria's team in the School of Medicine at Leeds found that by withholding the DOCK4 protein in mouse models, a particular part of the blood vessel did not form as quickly, meaning tumours grew at a slower rate.

Dr Mavria said: "We want to understand how these tumours form and grow, but we still need to do more research to stop these tumours growing altogether.

"The finding gives an important indicator of how the protein affects the growth of secondary breast tumours in the brain. The discovery could also enable experts to predict which patients might be at risk of their breast cancer spreading, and develop drugs to prevent the growth of secondary tumours."

Working with Professor Chris Marshall, Professor of Cell Biology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London and the late Dr Tony Pawson at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, researchers found that a complex of two related proteins, DOCK4 and DOCK9, is critical in the formation of the lumen, the interior space of a vessel through which blood flows.

By impeding the speed at which the lumen forms, tumours are not fed as effectively by blood vessels.

Normally, when breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it forces new blood vessels to form to supply it with nutrients and oxygen to help it to grow, resulting in tumours that are very difficult to treat.

Professor Marshall said: "Our study reveals new insights into how the complex process of forming blood vessels is controlled. This knowledge could lead to new approaches to preventing the blood supply to tumours and metastases. If we can find new ways to reduce the blood supply to tumours, we might be able to find new ways to slow cancer growth in future."

The research, which has been published in Nature Communications, was funded by Breast Cancer Now, Yorkshire Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK.

Dr Matthew Lam, Senior Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, said: "These findings could one day help us better identify and treat patients that might be at risk of their breast cancer spreading to the brain, a particularly common site for metastasis.

"12,000 women have their lives cut short by breast cancer in the UK each year. An understanding of what is happening on a molecular level - such as the role played by DOCK proteins - will be essential if we are to find ways to prevent secondary tumours and finally stop women dying from the disease."

Kathryn Scott, Head of Research and Innovation at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: "Tumours need blood vessels to grow, but these blood vessels could be the cancer's weakest link because it is believed that they are less able to become resistant to drugs than the cancer cells themselves. Targeting drugs to the blood vessels that are serving the tumour rather than the tumour itself is an exciting new area of research and we are supporting a number of projects in Yorkshire which are investigating this approach."

Dr Aine McCarthy, Science Information Officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "This research shows for the first time that a molecule called DOCK4 is a key player in tumour blood vessel development and blocking it could slow tumour growth by starving the cancer cells. But the study was carried out in mice, so more research is needed to see if drugs can be developed that target the molecule and whether this approach would be safe and effective in people with cancer."

Source:

University of Leeds

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por cyto às 11:34

Segunda-feira, 18.05.15

way for noninvasive detection of early stage liver cancer

Research leads way for noninvasive detection of early stage liver cancer

Published on May 15, 2015 at 9:02 AM ·

Led by Georgia State University, researchers have developed the first robust and noninvasive detection of early stage liver cancer and liver metastases, in addition to other liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver fibrosis.

Their findings were published Wednesday (May 13) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More than 700,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer each year. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for more than 600,000 deaths annually, according to the American Cancer Society. The rate of liver cancer in the U.S. has sharply increased because of several factors, including chronic alcohol abuse, obesity and insulin resistance.

"Liver cancers associated with high mortality rates and poor treatment responses are often diagnosed in the late stages because there is not a reliable way to detect primary liver cancer and metastasis at a size smaller than one centimeter," said Jenny Yang, lead author on the paper, Distinguished University Professor and associate director of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Georgia State.

The liver is a common site for a variety of cancers, including melanoma, breast, pancreatic and colon cancers. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the leading imaging technique to detect disease without using radiation. MRI contrast or imaging agents aid MRI techniques to obtain tissue-specific images.

As reported by Yang, the applications of MRI contrast agents are not effective for early detection of cancerous tumors because they are hampered by uncontrolled blood circulation time, low relaxation rate or sensitivity, and low specificity. Most contrast agents, she said, are rapidly excreted from the liver, not allowing sufficient time to obtain quality imaging.

To more effectively detect cancerous tumors at an early stage, researchers from Georgia State, in collaboration with researchers from Emory University, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and the University of Virginia, have developed a new class of protein-based contrast agents (PRCAs) and an imaging methodology that provides robust results for the early detection of liver cancer and other liver diseases.

ProCA32, the researchers' newly developed contrast agent, allows for imaging liver tumors that measure less than 0.25 millimeters. The agent is more than 40 times more sensitive than today's commonly used and clinically approved agents used to detect tumors in the liver.

ProCA32 widens the MRI detection window and is found to be essential for obtaining high-resolution quality images of the liver. This application has important medical implications for imaging various liver diseases, the origin of cancer metastasis, monitoring cancer treatment and guiding therapeutic interventions, such as drug delivery.

"Our new agents can obtain both positive and negative contrast images within one application, providing double the accuracy and confidence of locating cancerous tumors," Yang said. "These agents are also expected to be much safer with reduced metal toxicity."

The researchers have shown proof-of-concept that ProCA32 can be used to detect cancerous liver tumors at an early stage with high sensitivity. They have also demonstrated that these new agents better aid the imaging of multiple organs, including the kidney and blood vessels, in addition to the liver and tumors.

"ProCA32 may have far-reaching implications in the diagnosis of other malignancies, which in turn would facilitate development of targeted treatment along with effective monitoring of reduction of tumor burden," Yang said. "Our agent and methodology can also be applied to study the brain and monitor treatment outcomes in a number of disorders, including stroke and recovery after stroke, Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors and gliomas,"

Source:

Georgia State University

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por cyto às 14:03


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