archive-org.com » ORG » C » CANCERRESEARCHUK.ORG

Total: 768

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Science Snaps: designer drugs - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    cancer causing proteins looking for new ways to spot the weaknesses that could be exploited by the targeted treatments of the future How it all begins Each one of our cells is covered with molecules known as protein receptors These receptors receive signals from outside the cell and relay the messages inside Their messages are diverse including instructions such as Grow Multiply or Move that way The recipe for these cell surface receptors along with every other protein in our body lies in our genes encoded within our DNA But mistakes in the DNA code known as genetic mutations can lead to errors in these receptors there can be far too many of them or they can become constantly active Imagine a person holding a megaphone shouting instructions Now imagine there are 1000 times more of them that message is going to be a lot louder This is shown in the illustrations below and is exactly what can happen on some cancer cells On the left is what the surface of a healthy cell might look like the number of blue receptor molecules is tightly controlled But on the right is what happens on some cancer cells the receptors are produced in huge excess resulting in much louder messages being sent inside the cells And louder messages result in more cells multiplying which lead to uncontrolled growth This is how a tumour develops It s the same for faulty receptors becoming constantly active the message is no longer switched off so it continuously tells cells to grow It s in the detail Scientists now have an increasingly better idea of the types of receptor that can become mutated One receptor that we re particularly interested in is called HER2 the blue trees in our images In about one in five breast cancer patients there are far too many HER2 receptors constantly telling the cells to multiply In order to target HER2 specifically we need to know what it looks like so that a drug can be designed to mute the signals it is sending into the cell Scientists are able to look at the unique details of HER2 on an incredibly intricate molecular level using a technique called X ray crystallography In doing so they can create a snapshot of the active part of the protein and tailor make a drug that will sit within it preventing the receptor from working One such drug is called lapatinib It acts as a molecular plug sitting deep within the active region of the receptor Lapatinib is just one of the drugs available in the growing arsenal of precision treatments which target specific cancer causing proteins Drugs that work along similar lines are also used to treat people with particular types of leukaemia lung cancer bowel cancer and skin cancer Testing the treatments of the future A big challenge is finding out who will and who won t benefit from these types of treatment It is now possible to extract DNA from a

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/04/18/science-snaps-designer-drugs/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive


  • Introducing our Science Snaps series - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    us and allow us to perceive things like touch heat and pain By looking in microscopic detail at nerve cells Professor Schiavo s lab can see what goes wrong if the postal service fails If there are mistakes in how a cell stamps addresses or delivers its packages this can lead to numerous diseases including cancer What does the image show It may look like a deep and mysterious pool but Kinga and Martin s image is actually thousands of specialised sensory nerve cells called dorsal root ganglion cells grouped together and radiating outwards like the roots from a tree In our bodies these cells clump together by our spinal cord and act as a junction box that carries signals from sensory organs to the brain The blue shows where DNA is and this helps the scientists spot a cell s control centre the nucleus You can see that the nuclei of the cells are bunched together in the middle just like they would be in the dorsal root ganglion The long roots known as axons are stained red and stretch out from the central pool The red shows where a molecule that forms part of a cell s internal skeleton called tubulin is located And the green highlights molecules travelling inside individual cells via the cellular postal service How was it made The scientists first had to seed a few of these cells in a specialised gel to help them grow and hold them in place Much like we would use soil and a plant pot to grow flowers They gave the cells a few days to grow and extend their roots before getting the cells ready for their close up To achieve the multicoloured effect they used fluorescent molecules that stick to other molecules within the cell The fluorescent molecules glow when a laser is shined on them using a specialised and expensive microscope The microscope then allows the researchers to snap pictures of the cells to get an idea of how they work What does it tell us It s all well and good making some cells brightly coloured but what can we learn from images like this Growing cells in a gel and pinpointing different coloured molecules helps the scientists test if the cell forms the correct shape or delivers its post correctly They can look if a cell is pointing in the right direction something known as polarity and all of these observations can help us understand many diseases especially cancer As Kinga says By planting them into dishes and observing their behaviour we can get crucial information on the exact molecular mechanisms behind these diseases Clearing up the mystery There s an impressive mixture of skill sophisticated equipment and a keen eye for detail that allows our scientists to create images like this And these skills haven t gone unnoticed many award winning images have come from our labs Scientific images have the power to draw us in through their mystery whilst also helping

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2013/11/20/introducing-our-science-snaps-series/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: capturing the immune system and cancer - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    body seeking out unwelcome intruders to protect us from infections and disease The image we ve selected this month provided by Dr Sonya James picks out one branch of the cellular police force a type of cell called a dendritic cell But what can snapping pictures of dendritic cells tell us about cancer Breaking down the ranks When it comes to cancer our protective police force can go a little quiet Cancer cells are particularly good at giving the immune system the slip Our scientists want to find out why By taking a closer look at the way immune cells interact with cancer cells our researchers are trying to find new ways to tackle the disease They re particularly interested in dendritic cells as these are a part of the immune system s specialised surveillance cells Dendritic cells patrol our body and when they encounter something foreign they can trigger a full blown immune response like a police officer radioing in for back up Immune accessories To work out how dendritic cells spot these intruders and relay that information to the rest of the immune system our researchers need to be able to pick them out from the cellular crowd To do this they take advantage of a unique set of immune accessories that dendritic cells carry around with them Like the handcuffs truncheon and hat that a police officer classically carries various specialised molecules are stuck to the outside of dendritic cells Scientists can use fluorescent tags that seek out these immune accessories allowing the researchers to spot dendritic cells grown in the lab And that s exactly what s been done in this month s image the fluorescent green highlights a molecule only present on the dendritic cell Cellular firework display Dendritic cells on the beat Using a specialised microscope and different fluorescent tags our researchers are able to build up a 3D image of the dendritic cell It may look like a firework exploding but what you actually see are specialised projections that the dendritic cell uses to investigate the environment and send signals to other cells In these images we can see other cells stained fluorescent red that have been modified in the lab so they behave like a cancer cell The researchers can use these altered cells to see how the dendritic cell responds Images like this are important as they show how the altered cell and dendritic cell interact including what molecules help the dendritic cell spot a foreign invader What does this mean for cancer By taking a closer look at how immune cells and cancer cells interact our researchers are piecing together clues to understand how cancer evades the immune system The goal of this research is to find ways to retrain our immune police force to boost its surveillance skills and provide a more potent anti cancer response This is an exciting field of research known as immunotherapy and some striking early results are beginning to emerge from labs around the

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2013/12/17/science-snaps-capturing-the-immune-system-and-cancer/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: peering inside an expanding lymph node - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    crucial immune organs swell Scientists around the world are digging deeper into how the immune system works on a day to day basis taking what we learn about healthy cells and applying this to the world of infections or when things go wrong in diseases like cancer And today a team of our scientists led by Dr s Sophie Acton and Caetano Reis e Sousa from our London Research Institute have shown for the first time what makes lymph nodes swell during infection publishing their findings in the prestigious journal Nature Swelling evidence The team homed in on the complex cellular networks that surround the pipework within the lymph nodes focusing their attention on a particular group of cells called fibroblastic reticular cells FRCs They found that specialised immune cells called dendritic cells that arrive at the lymph nodes following an infection or during disease were actually causing the lymph nodes to swell This marks a fascinating discovery showing for the first time that the cells responsible for spotting a threat to our bodies are also telling the lymph nodes to swell in anticipation of an immune reaction Once activated the dendritic cells produced large amounts of a molecule called CLEC 2 which had a striking impact on the FRCs When the FRCs encountered the increased levels of the CLEC 2 molecule they reorganised their internal skeletons changing the shape of the cells and expanding the lymph nodes This expansion of the lymph nodes the command centres of the immune system gives more room for immune cells to gather and launch their attack against infections and cancer said Dr Reis e Sousa Dr Acton added that the next challenge will be to see how these early findings align with how the body responds to cancer We need to now see if this is the same mechanism that is used in the immune system s response to cancer and how we can exploit it to fight the disease she said A first look at how lymph nodes swell At the heart of this research are some striking images snapped from the microscopic world within the lymph node Here s a gallery showing a selection of these images click for a slideshow with descriptions Fibroblastic reticular cells with one part of the cell s internal skeleton a protein called actin in dark blue and the nucleus of the cells in light blue A mouse lymph node showing the nucleus of the fibroblastic reticular cells in green part of the molecular meshwork that surrounds the cells in blue and the pipework of the lymph node in red Sample of a mouse lymph node showing the nucleus of the fibroblastic reticular cells FRCs in brown the main body of the FRCs in pink illuminated by a tag on a molecule that triggers changes in cell shape and immune cells called leukocytes in blue Image courtesy of Emma Nye A mouse lymph node showing the individual fibroblastic reticular cells FRCs within the network green in

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/10/22/science-snaps-peering-inside-an-expanding-lymph-node/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: Sir Henry Morris and the ‘anonymous Gentleman’ - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    our history as it was here that the focus of the fund was set as the investigation of the cause nature and treatment of cancer a focus that remains at the core of what we do to this day Following these discussions and the agreement from the Royal Colleges to provide laboratory space in London a campaign to collect 100 000 through Rudd s influence in the City of London was launched in the Times on 19th April 1902 The Cancer Research Fund was born A home for research Sadly Thomas Rudd became ill in early 1902 and died before he could pitch the idea to his London contacts With the pace of fundraising hampered by his loss the Fund s accounts showed that just 20 000 had been raised This called for a change of tactics and in what would turn out to be one of the most important strokes of luck in the history of cancer research the team dropped their plans to enrol human patients as part of their studies Instead in a bid to lower costs they decided to develop a better understanding of the basics of cancer studying tumour samples and cancer in animals instead This would inadvertently spawn one of the first dedicated cancer research institutes and help to shape what we now know as modern laboratory based cancer research With operations scaled back the Fund acquired a small amount of laboratory space two rooms to be exact round the back of the Conjoint Examination Hall on the Victoria Embankment in London These opened on 5th July 1902 with 33 460 in the bank and Henry Morris in place as Honorary Treasurer a post he held until 1911 And it was here that they made what many see as the most inspired piece of hiring in the Fund s history Things we now know On the 30th July 1902 the Fund s newly established Executive Committee including Henry Morris met to discuss plans for what work needed to be done They decided to recruit a Superintendent of Research to take charge of the laboratory activities and the scientific direction of the Fund The job was advertised with a salary of 800 per year and 12 candidates applied Five were shortlisted for interview Dr Ernest Bashford Among those was a 29 year old scientist called Ernest Bashford The final five were tasked with writing a proposal or scheme of research basically laying down exactly what they would focus on over the coming years The decision to follow Bashford s plan and appoint him as Superintendent at just 29 would have surprised many But looking back his proposal entitled A draft scheme for enquiring into the Nature Cause Prevention and Treatment of Cancer was a masterpiece and laid the foundations for how a dedicated research institute should go about business And with Bashford at the helm the Fund s research went from strength to strength In 1904 encouraged by the Prince of Wales King Edward VII

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/01/06/science-snaps-sir-henry-morris-and-the-anonymous-gentleman/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: the art and science of cancer, the universe and everything - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Science Snaps the art and science of cancer the universe and everything Science Snaps the art and science of cancer the universe and everything Category Science blog March 18 2015 Kat Arney An example of Livvy Fink s artwork Photograph courtesy of Nic Walton used with permission This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Science Snaps These ghostly blobs have been carefully created in glass by artist Livvy Fink as part of a collaboration with researchers at our Cambridge Institute and the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge On the left the glass is lit by white light but the picture on the right was taken under the glow of an ultraviolet lamp Inspiration dividing cells photographed by Dr Stefanie Reichelt from our Cambridge Institute Her work is inspired by the exciting project we wrote about here bringing together astronomers with cancer researchers to adapt star gazing software to analyse images of breast tumour cells seen down the microscope Through this work our scientists are aiming to identify new ways to identify and understand cancer cells you can read more about it on the Cambridge University website too Livvy s artworks aim to capture the wonder of the universe from distant galaxies far far away to the microscopic cells within our own bodies Are these delicate orbs cells or stars It s all a matter of perception This image is just one of thirteen pieces that Livvy has made for the LENS exhibition at the University s Institute of Astronomy as part of the Cambridge Science Festival supported by the Wellcome Trust The show is running until this Saturday 21 st March so make sure you head down if you re in the area Full details can be found at http www ast cam ac uk public cambridge science festival activities fink glass exhibition All are welcome and entry is free Kat Previous in series Next in series Science Snaps Introducing our Science Snaps series Science Snaps capturing the immune system and cancer Science Snaps a sea of cells Science Snaps why aren t flies as big as hippos Science Snaps designer drugs Science Snaps how skin cancer spreads the round or flat of it Science Snaps what can fluorescent fish teach us about skin cancer Science Snaps peering inside an expanding lymph node Science Snaps Sir Henry Morris and the anonymous Gentleman Science Snaps the art

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/03/18/science-snaps-the-art-and-science-of-cancer-the-universe-and-everything/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: exposing melanoma’s ‘safe haven’ to help tackle drug resistance - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    extracellular matrix But just as a cobweb provides a safe home for a spider the new study shows how the extracellular matrix may provide a safe haven for melanoma cells and encourage resistance to treatment Watch an animation showing how BRAF targeting drugs work The melanoma cells have been engineered to produce a fluorescent sensor that tells the researchers whether a key set of signals that help the cells grow are switched on or off Warm red colours indicate high levels of signal activity lead researcher Dr Eishu Hirata tells us Colder blue colours show lower levels of activity he adds These cells have been treated with a drug that targets melanoma cells carrying a fault in the BRAF gene that causes them to survive and grow uncontrollably BRAF switches on a series of important growth signals called the ERK pathway If the drug is effective the colour turns into blue but many cells in this image retain red colours indicating that the cells are not affected by the therapy Hirata adds So how does a drug treatment that s initially successful in killing cancer cells slowly become something that cancer cells can tolerate A deadly support network Working with experimental laboratory models of melanoma the researchers found that drug resistance only appeared when the cancer cells were grown within the extracellular matrix and among other supporting structural cells These specialised support cells called melanoma associated fibroblasts responded to the drug treatment by twisting and shaping the extracellular matrix and laying down new protein fibres at the same time The team found that this refreshed network acts as a safe haven for the cancer cells switching on a different set of signals inside the cells that reactivates the ERK pathway and allows the cancer cells to grow again Switching the cell signals back on via this alternative escape route means the cells can withstand the treatment glowing orange and red again instead of the cooler blue colours The next step was to find a way to halt the resistance The right combination Following a meticulous set of experiments the team found that the escape signal was controlled by another important protein called FAK we ve written about FAK before The researchers reasoned that if they could switch off the FAK escape signal at the same time as the BRAF signal then the cancer cells would be unable to become resistant to the treatment Crucially drugs that target FAK are already being developed as potential cancer treatments on their own These drugs are still in the early stages of development but when the researchers combined an experimental FAK drug with the BRAF treatment the cancers cells stopped growing and started to die This was a striking result and offers important early evidence that combining these two treatments could help control the growth of a melanoma for longer than just using the BRAF treatment alone From control to cure While the combined treatments stopped the tumours from growing in the team s

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/04/13/science-snaps-exposing-melanomas-safe-haven-to-help-tackle-drug-resistance/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Science Snaps: divide by two - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    DNA is copied and the resulting two sets of genetic information get dished out between the two new daughter cells meaning that each one has the correct amount They also understand the complex system of checkpoints that cells use to make sure that nothing has gone wrong along the way And of course they now know a lot about how all these processes can go wrong in cancer Now scientists at our Manchester Institute have made another discovery with important implications for certain drugs that are undergoing clinical trials Molecular scaffolders The new study led by Drs Angeliki Malliri Helen Whalley and Andrew Porter published in the journal Nature Communications focuses on tiny structures called centrosomes These are the large white dots in the middle of the image of the cell above seen down a high powered fluorescence microscope Centrosomes are the cell s scaffolding engineers responsible for building long tube like structures called microtubules They play a fundamental role as cells divide generating a moving molecular scaffold that pulls apart the DNA Each cell usually has just one centrosome but when it s time for a cell to divide the single centrosome gets duplicated along with the cell s DNA Next one centrosome moves to each end of the cell the red dots in the image on the right and together they start constructing a network of microtubules green lines reaching towards the DNA blue blobs in the centre The microtubules grab hold of the DNA and pull the two copies apart Then the cell splits down the middle producing two identical daughters each with one full set of DNA and one centrosome And so the cycle repeats The Kinesin connection Angeliki and her team have been studying a molecule called Kinesin 5 also known as Eg 5 which is essential for centrosomes to function properly Without it the centrosomes don t separate after they ve been copied remaining in the centre of the cell rather than moving to each end This leads to some pretty weird attempts at cell division For example in the image on the right microtubules green radiate out from centrosomes red in the centre of the cell and capture DNA blue in a circle around them This molecular chaos is too much for cells to cope with they get stuck and eventually die Because of this researchers have wondered whether interrupting this process could help target cancer cells This in turn has led to experimental drugs that target Kinesin 5 and at least five have undergone early stage clinical trials One of these is called Monastrol In their new paper the Manchester team have discovered that reducing the levels of two other molecules Pak1 and Pak2 enables cells to somehow carry on and divide even in the presence of Monastrol Their finding has important implications for the development of Kinesin 5 blockers because it suggests a way that cancer cells could develop resistance to them Tumour cells are constantly evolving so if they develop

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/06/22/science-snaps-divide-by-two/ (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive



  •