Cancer’s Thirst For Copper Can Be Targeted
News Apr 10, 2014
The Duke University researchers found that cancers with a mutation in the BRAF gene require copper to promote tumor growth. These tumors include melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer that kills an estimated 10,000 people in the United States a year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“BRAF-positive cancers like melanoma almost hunger for copper,” said Christopher M. Counter, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine and senior author of the study published April 9, 2014, in Nature.
The BRAF gene is involved in regulating cell division and differentiation. When mutated, the gene causes cells to grow out of control. Using animal models and cells, Counter and colleagues found that when they experimentally inhibited copper uptake by tumors with the BRAF mutation, they could curb tumor growth.
They achieved similar results with drugs used to treat patients with Wilson disease, a genetic disorder in which copper builds up in the tissue, primarily the brain and liver, causing damage.
“Oral drugs used to lower copper levels in Wilson disease could be repurposed to treat BRAF-driven cancers like melanoma, or perhaps even others like thyroid or lung cancer,” said Donita C. Brady, Ph.D., lead author of the study.
Already, a clinical trial has been approved at Duke to test the copper-reducing drugs in patients with melanoma, although enrollment has not yet begun: http://1.usa.gov/1qefSJm
“This is a great example of how basic research moves from the laboratory to the clinic,” Counter said.
In addition to Counter and Brady, study authors include Matthew S. Crowe, Michelle L. Turski, G. Aaron Hobbs, Xiaojie Yao, Apirat Chaikuad, Stefan Knapp, Kunhong Xiao, Sharon L. Campbell and Dennis J. Thiele.
The National Institutes of Health provided funding (CA178145, HL075443, DK074192, CA094184, and CA172104), as did the Lymphoma Foundation and donations made in the name of Linda Woolfenden. A full list of additional funders is included in the manuscript.
Reversing an Unstoppable Cancer Cascade with ProteomicsNews
Mutations in genes that produce RAS proteins turn a normally benign process, essential for cellular growth, into a cancer stimulant that is currently undruggable. Now, cutting-edge protein analysis may help treat cancers caused by these mutations.READ MORE
A New, Streamlined Approach to Diagnosing and Treating Bowel CancerNews
Researchers at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the University of Adelaide have discovered a faster, more cost-effective way to determine which DNA mutations cause human bowel cancer.READ MORE
Protein "Shield" Affects Responses to Breast Cancer DrugNews
BRCA-positive breast cancers arise from a cell's failure to accurately repair its DNA. A study analyzing the complex network of DNA repair molecules has discovered a new group of proteins which affect response to some first-line breast cancer drugs.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
World Congress on Advanced Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Jun 20 - Jun 21, 2018
29th International Conference on Public Mental Health and Neuroscience
Jul 16 - Jul 18, 2018
International Conference on Epigenetics and Epitranscriptomics
Sep 17 - Sep 18, 2018