Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Medicine, Health Care > Sickle Cells Show Potential to… >
Sickle Cells Show Potential to Attack Aggressive Cancer Tumors

Published: January 9, 2013.
By Duke University Medical Center
http://www.dukemednews.org

DURHAM, N.C. – By harnessing the very qualities that make sickle cell disease a lethal blood disorder, a research team led by Duke Medicine and Jenomic, a private cancer research company in Carmel, Calif., has developed a way to deploy the misshapen red blood cells to fight cancer tumors.

Reporting in the Jan. 9, 2013, edition of the on-line journal, PLOS ONE, the researchers describe a process of exploiting sickle-shaped red blood cells to selectively target oxygen deprived cancer tumors in mice and block the blood vessels that surround them.

"Sickle cells appear to be a potent way to attack hypoxic (oxygen-starved) solid tumors, which are notable for their resistance to existing cancer chemotherapy agents and radiation," said senior author Mark W. Dewhirst, DVM, PhD, a radiation oncologist and director of Duke's Tumor Microcirculation Laboratory. "This is an exciting finding that suggests a potential new approach to fighting tumors that are currently associated with aggressive disease."

"The very qualities that make sickle cells a danger to people with the inherited genetic disorder can be turned against tumors to fight cancer," said lead author David S. Terman, M.D., head of Molecular Genetics at Jenomic. "Our approach using sickle cells is a novel strategy with broad therapeutic potential that could be directed at breast cancers, prostate cancers, and many other solid tumors that develop resistance to current therapies."

Sickle cells are typically associated with a potentially life-threatening disease in which red blood cells are deformed in the shape of a crescent moon or sickle. Unlike healthy red blood cells that flow smoothly through vessels, the sickle cells get stuck, causing blockages that are painful and damaging to tissue.

A collaborative effort between Duke researchers and scientists from Jenomic began in 2006 to explore whether sickle cells could similarly build clots in the vast networks of blood vessels that feed oxygen-starved, or hypoxic, cancer tumors, which can grow increasingly lethal as their oxygen needs escalate.

In a National Institutes of Health-funded study of mice with breast cancer, the researchers gave the animals an infusion of fluorescently dyed sickle cells and viewed them under special window chambers that provide real-time observation of processes inside the body. Within five minutes, the deformed cells began to adhere to the blood vessels surrounding the hypoxic tumors. Over 30 minutes, the cells had formed clots and began blocking the small blood vessels that fed the tumor.

Dewhirst said the sickle cells stick like Velcro to the hypoxic tumor because it produces an abundance of adhesion molecules as part of its distress from oxygen deprivation. Normal cells don't produce the adhesion molecules, so there's nothing for the sickle cells to snag onto.

"Unlike normal red blood cells, we found that sickle cells show a highly unique natural attraction to oxygen deprived tumors where they stick, cluster and plug tumor blood vessels. Once clustered within the tumor, the sickle cells deposit a toxic iron residue as they die, causing tumor cell death," Terman said.

To boost that caustic effect, the researchers added zinc compounds (zinc protoporphyrin alone or in combination with doxorubicin) to the sickle cells, which caused even greater oxidative stress in the tumor and surrounding blood vessels. This resulted in a dramatic delay in tumor growth, quadrupling the amount of time the tumors were inactive compared to tumors exposed to regular blood cells. Mice showed no acute toxicity to the sickle cell treatment.

"In contrast to drug treatments directed only to the hypoxic tumor cell, our approach uses the inherent qualities of sickle cells to induce injury to the tumor and the vascular micro-environment that feeds the tumor," Terman said.

Dewhirst and Terman said the research team would continue to conduct studies in animals before moving to human trials.


Show Reference »


Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
All comments are reviewed before being posted. We cannot accept messages that refer a product, or web site.If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Disease 
5/11/10 
Media Availability: New Study Suggests Sickle Cell Disease May Affect Brain Function
By National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
What: Adults who have mild sickle cell disease scored lower on brain function tests when compared to healthy participants, suggesting the blood disease may impact the brain more than …
Cell 
5/11/10 
New Study Suggests Sickle Cell Disease May Affect Brain Function in Adults
By National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Sickle cell disease may affect brain function in adults who have few or mild complications of the inherited blood disease, according to results of the first study to examine …
Patients 
7/1/14 

Adults Stop Anti-rejection Drugs After Stem-cell Transplant Reverses Sickle Cell Disease
By National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Kumar 
9/1/14 
Faster, Cheaper Tests for Sickle Cell
By Harvard University
Within minutes after birth, every child in the U.S. undergoes a battery of tests designed to diagnose a host of conditions, including sickle cell disease. Thousands of children born …
Ghsu 
2/1/11 

Compound May Prevent Sickle Cell Pain Crises
By Medical College of Georgia
Levels 
3/20/14 

Low Levels of Oxgen, Nitric Oxide Worsen Sickle Cell Disease
By Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
 
8/26/14 
Targeting Estrogen Receptors Prevents Binge Eating in Mice
By Journal of Clinical Investigation
Binge easting disorder affects approximately 5% of adults in the US. Left unchecked, this disorder leads to health complications, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. The cause of this disease …
More » 
 
© Newsline Group  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition