Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Research

Protein found to block benefits of vitamin A cancer therapy

Retinoic acid is a form of vitamin A that is used to treat and help prevent the recurrence of a variety of cancers, but for some patients the drug is not effective. The reason for this resistance was unclear until this week when researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center demonstrated that a protein known as AEG-1 blocks the effects of retinoic acid in leukemia and liver cancer. Because AEG-1 is overexpressed in nearly every cancer, these findings could impact the care of countless cancer patients.

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Scientists develop mouse model that could lead to new therapies for liver cancer

Researchers have created the first mouse model demonstrating the role of a cancer promoting gene, Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), in hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer. The mouse model represents a critical step in understanding the molecular mechanisms of liver cancer progression and could lead to novel therapies for the disease.

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New link found between inflammation and cancer

Massey Cancer Center researchers have uncovered a new link between chronic inflammation and cancer. Although cancers don't always cause inflammation, chronic inflammation is known to help tumor cells grow. In an article published in the recent June issue of Nature, VCU Massey scientists Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., and Tomasz Kordula, Ph.D., and their co-authors examine how sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a lipid mediator in the blood that influences immune cell circulation, also regulates inflammation and cancer. They reported that S1P is a missing cofactor that is required for the activity of TRAF2, the key regulator of NF-kappaB, which acts as a master on-off switch in controlling inflammation and cancer.

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VCU Massey discovery could lead to breakthrough for non-small cell lung cancer

Research at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center led by Charles E. Chalfant, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, discovered a previously unknown mechanism in non-small cell lung cancer cells that contributes to their ability to maintain and grow tumors. Narrowing in on this mechanism could provide a breakthrough for the development of effective therapies for NSCLC and other cancers.

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New function of gene in promoting cancer found

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have discovered that a gene well known for its involvement in tumor cell development, growth and metastasis also protects cancer cells from being destroyed by chemotherapy. By inhibiting the expression of this gene, doctors may have a new viable and effective approach for treating aggressive cancers such as breast, liver and prostate carcinomas, malignant gliomas and neuroblastomas that result from high expression of this cancer-promoting gene.

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