Jefferson Scientists Suppress Tumor Growth In Animals, Aiming At Gene Therapy

October 06, 1998

Scientists at Jefferson Medical College believe they have taken the next step toward gene therapy trials for lung cancer. They have demonstrated for the first time in laboratory animals that a normally protective anticancer gene, pRb2/p130, can actually block tumors from growing. A damaged version of the gene, termed a "tumor suppressor," has been implicated in several cancers, such as lung, breast and endometrial.

Previous test tube experiments had proven that tumors wouldn't grow when the gene--and its protein product--were present. But 'curing cancer' in the test tube is one thing. Now that they've found the gene stops cancer formation in an animal model, the next step would be to understand how the gene and its protein actually work. Eventually, the scientists, led by Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, anatomy and cell biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, would like to develop a gene therapy procedure against Rb2 to treat cancer.

Verifying Rb2's function, Dr. Giordano says, "shows the complexity of cancer. It's clear that Rb2 is one of a small number of tumor suppressor genes that play important roles in cancer," he says. "We know now that Rb2 can be therapeutically powerful. Understanding how they work is key to solving the puzzle of cancer formation. We think that Rb2 is used in combination with other tumor suppressor genes."

Dr. Giordano and his colleagues at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences and the University of Naples report their results October 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "The importance of this work is that it's the first time we have shown that the tumor suppressor, pRb2/p130, is able to suppress tumor growth in mice," says Dr. Giordano. "In the past, we only showed that Rb2 could suppress cancer cell lines from growing. Now we find it dramatically does so on mice. It's a very exciting study to show this dramatically inhibiting cancer cell growth."

While the biochemical pathway of tumor suppression isn't completely understood, "with this discovery, we have another tool," Dr. Giordano says. "It's known that Rb2 controls vital cell processes, including apoptosis (programmed cell death). Gene therapy would target cancers in which we know this gene is involved--lung, mesothelioma, endometrial, breast, glioblastoma, lymphoma," he says. "We are working on a delivery system for every cancer."
-end-


Thomas Jefferson University

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

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.

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.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung 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.