News: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Study Finds Stress Fuels Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Stress can promote breast cancer cell colonization of bone, Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology investigators have discovered. The studies, reported July 17 in PLoS Biology, demonstrate in mice that activation of the sympathetic nervous system – the “fight-or-flight” response to stress – primes the bone environment for breast cancer cell metastasis. The researchers were able […]

Roots of Childhood Brain Tumors

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Identifying the cellular origins of medulloblastoma – the most common malignant brain tumor in children – may help focus treatment on cell types responsible for tumor initiation. Previous research has linked Sonic hedgehog signaling in neuronal cell precursors within the developing cerebellum to medulloblastoma. Now, Chin Chiang, Ph.D., and colleagues demonstrate that “turning on” Sonic […]

Colon Cancer’s Cellular Crossroads

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Colon cancer development and progression involves alterations in several cell signaling pathways. Activation of the Wnt pathway is involved in the early stages of tumor development, while inactivation of signaling through the TGF-beta pathway (which typically suppresses tumor formation) is involved in later stages. However, the interactions between these pathways remain unclear. R. Daniel Beauchamp, […]

‘Detangler’ Binds, Bends and Cuts DNA

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

When the double-stranded “rope” of DNA is unwound to be copied, it can become knotted or tangled. The enzyme topoisomerase II detangles DNA by cutting both strands, removing the tangles, and stitching the DNA back together. Because breaks in the DNA can lead to genetic mutations and cell death, topoisomerase II is a target of […]

Studies Pinpoint New Anti-Cancer Drug Target

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A few years ago, Alison Hanson, Ph.D., a student in Vanderbilt’s Medical Scientist Training Program, was invited to have lunch with a visiting Nobel laureate, Aaron Ciechanover, M.D., D.Sc. Hanson was working on her dissertation research at the time, and she described some interesting findings to Ciechanover. “He said, ‘that could either be a total […]

Colorectal Cancer Risk Related to Gene’s Expression

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Individuals who are outside the “normal” range of expression for the APC gene have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the January issue of Gastroenterology. Mutations in the APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) gene – and variations in the expression of the gene’s two copies (allele-specific expression) — are associated […]

Virus-linked Cancer Gets Help from Host

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Although viruses like HPV (human papilloma virus) are involved in a considerable number of cancers, it takes more than the viral infection for cancer to develop. Host proteins also play important roles. Mary Zutter, M.D., and colleagues are exploring the role of integrins – proteins that help cells attach to each other – in cancer […]

Heart Protein May be Target for Colon Cancer Therapies

Friday, October 7th, 2011

A protein critical in heart development may also play a part in colon cancer progression. Research led by investigators fromVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Vanderbilt Eye Institute suggests that the protein BVES (blood vessel endocardial substance) – which also is key in regulating corneal cells – may be a therapeutic target for halting colon cancer metastasis. The study, […]

Lymphoma Factor Amps Up Metabolism

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The functions of most members of the enzyme family known as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) are unclear. Some PARP-related proteins are in a B aggressive lymphoma (BAL) protein family, which are highly expressed in certain types of B cell lymphomas – malignancies of the antibody-producing B lymphocytes. Sung Hoon Cho, Ph.D., Mark Boothby, M.D., Ph.D., […]