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

Researchers Abuzz Over Caffeine as Cancer-Cell Killer

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
UAlberta research team uses caffeine and fruit flies to pinpoint genetic pathways that guide DNA repair in cancer cells.

Researchers from the University of Alberta are abuzz after using fruit flies to find new ways of taking advantage of caffeine’s lethal effects on cancer cells—results that could one day be used to advance cancer therapies for people.

Previous research has established that caffeine interferes with processes in cancer cells that control DNA repair, a finding that has generated interest in using the stimulant as a chemotherapy treatment. But given the toxic nature of caffeine at high doses, researchers from the faculties of medicine and dentistry and science instead opted to use it to identify genes and pathways responsible for DNA repair.

“The problem in using caffeine directly is that the levels you would need to completely inhibit the pathway involved in this DNA repair process would kill you,” said Shelagh Campbell, co-principal investigator. “We’ve come at it from a different angle to find ways to take advantage of this caffeine sensitivity.”

Lead authors Ran Zhuo and Xiao Li, both PhD candidates, found that fruit flies with a mutant gene called melanoma antigen gene, or MAGE, appeared normal when fed a regular diet but died when fed food supplemented with caffeine.

On closer inspection, the researchers found that the mutant flies’ cells were super-sensitive to caffeine, with the drug triggering “cell suicide” called apoptosis. Flies fed the caffeine-laden diet developed grossly disfigured eyes.

Through this work, the research team identified three genes responsible for a multi-protein complex, called SMC5/SMC6/MAGE, which regulates DNA repair and the control of cell division. Neither process works properly in cancer cells.

Co-principal investigator Rachel Wevrick explains that this finding is significant because it means that scientists one day could be able to take advantage of cancer-cell sensitivity to caffeine by developing targeted treatments for cancers with specific genetic changes. Their results were published in the March issue of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One.

“Unless you actually know what it is those proteins are doing in the first place to make a cell a cancer cell instead of a normal cell, it’s hard to know what to do with that information,” she says. “You need to know which genes and proteins are the really bad actors, how these proteins work and which of them work in a pathway you know something about where you can actually tailor a treatment around that information.”

Along with Wevrick and Campbell as lead investigators, the project also included biological sciences professor Kirst King-Jones and medical geneticist Sarah Hughes. It’s the type of research-intensive environment that benefits students who gain experience working with peers as part of a team, Wevrick says.

“The U of A has a reputation for co-operation, and that’s not the case everywhere. People here are very willing to share their results and their successes, and work together.”


Further Information

Join For Free

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 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ 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 TechnologyNetworks.com 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.

Related Content

Engineering a Permanent Solution to Genetic Diseases
New method significantly improves the ability of scientists to target specific faulty genes and then “edit” them, replacing the damaged genetic code with healthy DNA.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Discovered Through ‘Big Data’ Analysis
Researchers at the SBP have identified over 100 new genetic regions that affect the immune response to cancer.
New Therapeutic Targets For Small Cell Lung Cancer Identified
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer and that, when deleted in the lungs of mice, prevents the cancer from forming.
Liquid Biopsies Treating Ovarian Cancer
Researchers have discovered a promising monitor and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer. Detecting cancer long before tumours reappear.
Cell Cargo Ships in Near Future?
Virus-inspired container design may lead to cell cargo ships following construction of ten large, two-component, icosahedral protein complexes.
Uncovering a New Principle in Chemotherapy Resistance in Breast Cancer
The NIH study has revealed an entirely unexpected process for acquiring drug resistance that bypasses the need to re-establish DNA damage repair in breast cancers that have mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Understanding Treatment Resistant Melanoma
Researchers have determined how advanced melanoma becomes resistant; a development toward developing treatments.
Liquid Biopsies: DNA Size Matters
Study finds circulating tumour DNA can be distinguished from healthy DNA through fragment size identification.
Unravelling the Roots of Insect’s Waterproof Coating
Researchers have identified the genes that control cuticular lipid production in Drosophila, by performing an RNAi screen and using Direct Analysis in Real Time and GC-MS.
Identifying Cancer Drug Targets Using 3D-Modelling
Researchers are now able to model genetic mutations manipulation of proteins that can potentially drive cancer.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!