13 February 2006

Growth Factor Blocker to Treat Advanced Cancers

Snowcrash provides another excellent posting at Biosingularity. Snowcrash describes research from the Max Planck Institute leading to a new drug for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma and gastro-intestinal stromal tumours. This research involves important aspects of proteomics, and an earlier posting by Snowcrash illuminates the important topic of cell signaling networks in proteomics.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
When particular growth factors are bound to specific receptors on the surface of a cell, this can cause the cell to propagate itself and build certain tissue similar to blood vessels. Worldwide, research into receptors has focused on a special class of proteins, called tyrosine kinases. They are responsible for causing the received signal to be transduced through a long signalling cascade into the nucleus, triggering cell division and multiplication. Signalling cascades are absolutely necessary, if various tissues - like blood vessels, nerve tissue, and connective tissue - are to be built up during the development of an organism and in the process of tissue regeneration.

Research has focussed on these tumour cell signalling cascades, because in cancers they are often disturbed. If there were a way to block growth factors, or the receptors on the cellular surface from tumour cells, that could lead to targeted therapies against cancers. Already in the 1980s, cancer researcher Axel Ullrich, then a scientist at Genentech (USA), working with colleagues in the UK and Israel, succeeded in describing the structure and function of a receptor for epidermal growth factor (EGF). Since then, tyrosine kinases and various growth factors have been at the focus of research and development of therapies against tumours.

If this incredibly important topic interests you, visitBiosingularity and read the whole thing.

Here is an abstract describing similar basic research.


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