Scientists discover new way to target cancer

Scientists have discovered a new way to target cancer through manipulating a master switch responsible for cancer cell growth. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Cell, reveal how cancer cells grow faster by producing their own blood vessels.

Cancer cells gain the nutrients they need by producing proteins that make blood vessels grow, helping deliver oxygen and sugars to the tumour. These proteins are vascular growth factors like VEGF - the target for the anti-cancer drug Avastin. Making these proteins requires the slotting together of different parts of genes, a process called splicing.

Scientists at UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol discovered that mutations in one specific cancer gene can control how splicing is balanced, allowing a master switch in the cell to be turned on. This master switch of splicing makes cancer cells grow faster, and blood vessels to grow more quickly, as they alter how VEGFs are put together.

In experimental models, the researchers found that by using new drugs that block this master switch they prevented blood vessel growth and stopped the growth of cancers.

Dr Michael Ladomery spearheading the work from UWE Bristol, said: "The research clearly demonstrates that it may be possible to block tumour growth by targeting and manipulating alternative splicing in patients, adding to the increasingly wide armoury of potential anti-cancer therapies."

Professor David Bates who led the team from the University of Bristol's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: "This enables us to develop new classes of drugs that target blood vessel growth, in cancer and other diseases like blindness and kidney disease."

The work, which started on kidney cancer, also involved groups at Southmead Hospital, where patients with kidney disease helped by allowing tissues that had been removed during surgery to be used in the research.

Professor Steve Harper, Consultant Nephrologist and part of the research team, said: "This shows how important it is for patients, doctors and scientists to come together in an excellent environment like Bristol to make these groundbreaking discoveries."

Professor Moin Saleem, Consultant Pediatric Nephrologist, whose lab helped to make the cells used, added: "We are really grateful to the patients who allowed their cells to be used in this research, as we hope it will eventually help the development of new drugs."

The paper, entitled 'WT1 mutants reveal SRPK1 to be a downstream angiogenesis target by altering VEGF splicing', is published in Cancer Cell. The research was sponsored by a UWE Bristol Faculty PhD studentship, which funded Elianna Amin, the first author on the paper, and by University of Bristol research grants from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council Fight for Sight and the Skin Cancer Research Fund.

Most Popular Now

AstraZeneca to acquire CinCor Pharma to strengthen…

AstraZeneca has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CinCor Pharma, Inc. (CinCor), a US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focused on developing no...

NextPoint Therapeutics announces $80 million Serie…

NextPoint Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a new world of precision immuno-oncology, announced today that it raised $80 million in Series B financing co-l...

Time-restricted eating reshapes gene expression th…

Numerous studies have shown health benefits of time-restricted eating including increase in life span in laboratory studies, making practices like intermittent fasting a ...

Incurable liver disease may prove curable

Research led by Associate Professor Duc Dong, Ph.D., has shown for the first time that the effects of Alagille syndrome, an incurable genetic disorder that affects the li...

Scientists develop a cancer vaccine to simultaneou…

Scientists are harnessing a new way to turn cancer cells into potent, anti-cancer agents. In the latest work from the lab of Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, at Brigham and Women’s ...

Bayer to accelerate drug discovery with Google Clo…

Bayer AG and Google Cloud announced a collaboration to drive early drug discovery that will apply Google Cloud's Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), which are custom-develope...

COVID-19 vaccines, prior infection reduce transmis…

Vaccination and boosting, especially when recent, helped to limit the spread of COVID-19 in California prisons during the first Omicron wave, according to an analysis by ...

Study identifies potential new approach for treati…

Targeting iron metabolism in immune system cells may offer a new approach for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - the most common form of the chronic autoimmune...

Nanotechnology may improve gene therapy for blindn…

Using nanotechnology that enabled mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, a new approach to gene therapy may improve how physicians treat inherited forms of blindness. A collabo...

Acquisition of Neogene Therapeutics completed

AstraZeneca has completed the acquisition of Neogene Therapeutics Inc. (Neogene), a global clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the discovery, development and ...

Modified CRISPR-based enzymes improve the prospect…

Many genetic diseases are caused by diverse mutations spread across an entire gene, and designing genome editing approaches for each patient’s mutation would be impractic...

Pfizer expands 'An Accord for a Healthier World' p…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced that it has significantly expanded its commitment to An Accord for a Healthier World to offer the full portfolio of medicines and vaccin...