Nav: Home

A 'one-two punch' to wipe out cancerous ovarian cells

June 11, 2019

Montreal, June 11, 2019 - Researchers from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have developed a two-step combination therapy to destroy cancer cells. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, they show the superior therapeutic effectiveness of the "one-two punch" on cells of ovarian cancer patients, based on manipulation of the state of cellular aging.

With time, our cells age and enter a phase called cellular senescence. These senescent cells stop proliferating, build up in the body and cause the development of diseases such as cancer. In recent years, the scientific community has tried to heal these aging-related pathologies by targeting and destroying senescent cells.

"In the case of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)--the most common and lethal ovarian cancer--we act in two stages. First, we force the cancer cells to age prematurely i.e., we force them into senescence. This is the first therapeutic punch. We throw our second punch using senolysis, destroying and eliminating them. This strategy requires excellent coordination of the two steps," explained Francis Rodier, a researcher at the CRCHUM and professor at the Université de Montréal.

The team of researchers, led by Rodier and his colleague Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, discovered that EOC cells enter senescence following chemotherapy in combination with PARP inhibitors. PARPs are enzymes that help repair damage to DNA. By blocking PARPs, PARP inhibitors prevent cancer cells from repairing their DNA, stop them from proliferating and cause them to age prematurely.

"Thanks to our 'one-two punch' approach, we have managed to destroy senescent EOC cells in preclinical ovarian cancer models. Our approach could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in combination with PARP inhibitors and counteract the systematic resistance that develops with this treatment," said Mes-Masson, a researcher at the CRCHUM and professor at the Université de Montréal.

Future clinical trials in store?

"Our study was done using cells taken from our biobank of samples from CHUM ovarian cancer patients. These patients agreed to take part in the research study and let us store their biological specimens. Our 'one-two punch strategy' was also tested on preclinical ovarian and breast cancer models, which allowed us to validate its effectiveness," commented Mes-Masson.

Although the results of this study will be used to propose clinical trials for ovarian and triple-negative breast cancer, Rodier says that it is important to remember that they used preclinical models in which there was no immune system. "Given the importance of the immune response in humans, we need to continue evaluating our strategy in a context closer to biological reality."

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 2,800 Canadian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017 and 1,800 died from the disease. It is the fifth leading cause of death in North America.
-end-
This research was funded by the Institut du cancer de Montréal; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Terry Fox Research Institute; the Cancer Research Society in partnership with Ovarian Cancer Canada and the Fonds de recherche du Québec -- Santé.

Further reading: "Exploiting interconnected synthetic lethal interactions between PARP inhibition and cancer cell reversible senescence" by Hubert Fleury et al. in Nature Communications DOI : 10.1038/s41467-019-10460-1

About the CRCHUM

The University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) is one of North America's leading hospital research centres. It strives to improve adult health through a research continuum covering such disciplines as the fundamental sciences, clinical research and public health. Over 1,861 people work at the CRCHUM, including 542 scientists and 719 students and research assistants. chumontreal.qc.ca/crchum

@CRCHUM

About Université de Montréal

Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, Université de Montréal is one of the top universities in the French-speaking world. Founded in 1878, Université de Montréal today has 16 faculties and schools, and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Québec and one of the major centres in North America. It brings together 2,500 professors and researchers and has more than 60,000 students. umontreal.ca

Media contact - information and interviews

Bruno Geoffroy
Science Writer
University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)
514-890-8000 poste 30872
bruno.geoffroy.chum@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.