Tuesday November 19, 2019

Researchers Find Way to Make Cancer Cells Self-destruct

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP

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Cancer, Patients, Invasive
Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Pixabay

In a new hope for cancer patients, researchers have found a way to cause some cancer cells to self-destruct.

The research team has identified a new pathway that works as a partner to a gene called MYC which controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumours grow uncontrollably.

The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it’s blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die.

Published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the study done on mice points the way towards a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“What we’ve learned is that we need to go further downstream to block tumour growth in a way that cancer cells can’t easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that,” said Constantinos Koumenis, Professor at the University of California.

According to researchers, this finding shows the alternative approach is to target ATF4 itself, since it’s the point where both signal pathways converge, meaning there’s less redundancy built in to allow cancer to survive.

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It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP.

This study also found that when tumours in humans are driven by MYC, ATF4 and its protein partner 4E-BP are also overly expressed, which is further evidence that these findings may point to an approach that could work for humans. (IANS)

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Beware! Velvety ‘Triple Palms’ Can be Sign of Lung Cancer

"All patients with tripe palms should be evaluated with a full diagnostic work-up for an associated malignancy, particularly lung or gastric carcinoma," wrote the researchers

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Cancer
Velvety palms constitute a rare medical condition known as 'tripe palms', due to their resemblance to the rippled appearance of the stomach lining of cows, pigs or sheep. Pixabay

In a rare medical condition, a 73-year-old Brazilian woman was diagnosed with lung cancer after she showed up at a dermatologist’s clinic with velvety ‘triple palms’.

An elderly smoker who acknowledged that she’d gone through a pack of cigarettes every day for 30 years, the woman was suffering from painful lesions on her hands.

According to Science Alert that cited a case published in a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine, she also had cough for about a year, and had lost 5 kg in the last four months alone.

“Physical examination revealed sharp demarcation of the folds in the lines of her hands in addition to a velvety appearance of palmar surfaces and ridging of the skin,” her doctors wrote in the case report.

Velvety palms constitute a rare medical condition known as ‘tripe palms’, due to their resemblance to the rippled appearance of the stomach lining of cows, pigs or sheep.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Sometimes called acanthosis palmaris, such tripe palms fall under skin disorder.

In the case of this 73-year-old patient, a CT scan revealed irregularities in her lungs.

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A subsequent biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, and she underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, said the report.

“All patients with tripe palms should be evaluated with a full diagnostic work-up for an associated malignancy, particularly lung or gastric carcinoma,” wrote the researchers. (IANS)