National award recognizes local researcher Carolyn Bertozzi

August 24, 1999

NEW ORLEANS, La., Aug. 24 -- Carolyn Bertozzi of Albany, Calif., will be honored August 24 by the world's largest scientific society for using sugars attached to the surfaces of body cells to further understanding and treatment of diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. She will receive the1999 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society at its national meeting in New Orleans.

"In order for cells to work together as tissues and organs, they have to be able to communicate with each other," explained Bertozzi, an organic chemist at the University of California at Berkeley. "Some of that communication is mediated by sugar molecules around the surfaces of cells. So we study how the structure of these sugar molecules direct how the cells interact within tissues."

Cancer cells, for example, tend to have unusual sugars on their surfaces which, Bertozzi's group has discovered, may prevent their destruction by the immune system. This may help explain why some cancers are more difficult to treat than others, she said.

Bertozzi's work has also contributed to development of techniques for using "signature sugars" as beacons for diagnostic tools and chemotherapy agents.

In addition to studying the sugar structures (also called carbohydrates) already displayed by cells, Bertozzi is learning to modify them for new purposes ó or in her words, "to redecorate the cell surface." For example, she can feed cancer cells a precursor of cancer-associated sugars with a unique molecular "tag."

"This gives us a chemical handle that we can target with diagnostic agents, such as probes for magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]," she explained. "The hope is to eventually be able to diagnose cancers at an earlier stage."

Bertozzi also investigates the role of sugars in rheumatoid arthritis, organ-transplant rejection, and other forms of chronic inflammation.

"When you have tissue damage, that's inflammation that has gone out of control," she said. "If we can understand the molecules involved in that, we may be able to calm it down."

Bertozzi's research group has discovered that certain carbohydrates are unique to inflammation sites. Inhibitors of the enzymes that make these sugars might be candidates for new anti-arthritis drugs, she said.
-end-
A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy, and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. (http://www.acs.org)

American Chemical Society

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.