Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Medicinal Chemistry
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

A*STAR Scientists Identify Potential Drug Target for Inflammatory Diseases Including Cancers

Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Bookmark and Share
This discovery holds the potential to reduce healthcare costs for many common inflammatory diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

A*STAR scientists have identified the enzyme, telomerase, as a cause of chronic inflammation in human cancers.

Chronic inflammation is now recognized as a key underlying cause for the development of many human cancers, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

This enzyme, which is known to be responsible for providing cancer cells the endless ability to divide, is now found to also jumpstart and maintain chronic inflammation in cancers.

In identifying this enzyme, inflammation can be prevented or reduced, and the common ailments can be alleviated. This discovery has considerable impact on healthcare because developing drugs to target telomerase can greatly reduce healthcare costs.

Currently, the annual costs and expenses associated with cancer and metabolic diseases such as diabetes amount to about $132 billion in the US alone.

Although many safe and effective anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin are currently available on the market, these drugs sometimes have side effects because blocking inflammation is typically detrimental to normal physiology.

Hence there exists a need for the development of cost-effective drugs that are targeted, so as to minimize side effects.

This collaborative research was conducted by scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) led by Assoc Prof Vinay Tergaonkar, A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and National University of Singapore.

Other clinical collaborators include Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

The research findings were published on Nov. 18, 2012, in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature Cell Biology.

The team identified that telomerase directly regulates the production of inflammatory molecules that are expressed by NF-kB, a known master regulator of chronic inflammation. These molecules are critical for inflammation and cancer progression.

By inhibiting telomerase activity in primary cancer cells obtained from patient samples, the scientists found that levels of IL-6, an inflammatory molecule known to be a key driver of human cancers, was reduced in expression as well.

This is an important breakthrough that shows how targeting telomerase with drugs could potentially reduce inflammation, and hence get rid of cancer cells.

Dr Tergaonkar said, "These findings provide a unifying explanation for a decade worth of observations from leading laboratories in the field which show that chronic inflammation and telomerase hyperactivity co-exist in over 90 percent of human cancers. What we show that these two activities are actually interdependent. They also may lead to potentially novel drugs that will target a range of human ailments with inflammation as an underlying cause, which range from arthritis to cancer."

Prof Hong Wan Jin, Executive Director of IMCB, said, "The discovery speaks for the exceptional power of identifying novel mechanisms that have translational potential, through close collaborations among scientists in different A*STAR institutes, as well as to bring together both basic and clinical research scientists in Singapore. I am confident that we can expect more discoveries like this from Dr Tergaonkar's team."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Atriva Therapeutics GmbH Develops Innovative Flu Drug
Highly effective against seasonal and pandemic influenza.
Study Removes Cancer Doubt for Multiple Sclerosis Drug
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are calling on the medical community to reconsider developing a known drug to treat people with relapsing Multiple sclerosis after new evidence shows it does not increase the risk of cancer as previously thought.
New Hope for Personalized Treatment of Eczema
Pharmaceutical researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new approach to treat eczema and other inflammatory skin disorders that would use individual tests and advanced science to create personalized treatments based on each person's lipid deficiencies.
Inroads Against Leukaemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Researchers Disguise Drugs As Platelets to Target Cancer
Researchers have for the first time developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient’s own platelets.
HIV Patients Should Be Included in Early Clinical Trials of Anti-TB Drugs
Tuberculosis is the number one cause of death in HIV-infected patients in Africa and a leading cause of death in this population worldwide.
Combination Drug Therapy Shrinks Pancreatic Tumors In Mice
Two drugs that affect the structure and function of DNA have been found to block the growth of pancreatic tumor cells in mice, researchers hope the drugs can soon be tested in humans with the disease.
Seeking A Better Way To Design Drugs
NIH funds research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to advance a new chemical process for more effective drug development and manufacturing.
Old Drug Performs New Tricks
Cambridge-led research reveals the powers of a "wonder drug" that has lain under the noses of doctors for 50 years.
Diabetes Drugs May Actually Release Sugar Into the Blood
A family of drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes could promote the release of sugars into the blood - something the drugs are supposed to prevent, Cambridge scientists have claimed.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos