Newsstand Menu

New signaling pathway discovered in HER2-positive breast cancer, and two potentially powerful drug targets

New signaling pathway discovered in HER2-positive breast cancer, and two potentially powerful drug targets

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — One of the most promising ideas in cancer treatment is to apply a lesson learned in the fight against AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): simultaneously attacking a pathological process at different points of weakness can, in some cases, deal a knock-out blow. Just as the so-called AIDS “cocktail” directs multiple agents against multiple targets, so too might future anti-cancer cocktails be directed at multiple, highly specific targets in known cancer pathways. One key in cancer is knowing precisely which targets to hit, in which combinations, for the illness takes many different forms and works through a stunning variety of biological mechanisms.

Mammary epithelial cells grow in clusters called acini. When HER2 signaling is activated, the clusters—which normally have hollow centers—assume an irregular, or dysplastic form (left). When Tonks and colleagues knocked down expression of the phosphatase PTPD2, the acini returned to their normal shape (right), even when HER2 signaling was activated. Experiments showed that PTPD2 was one element in a previously unknown HER2 signaling pathway, other components of which might be simultaneously targeted in future combination treatments.

A team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry results of experiments that lay bare a previously unknown pathway activated in a highly lethal form of breast cancer. The pathway, they discovered, contains at least two potentially powerful drug targets, according to the team leader, CSHL Professor

Written By: Peter Tarr, Senior Science Writer | tarr@cshl.edu | 516-367-5055


Funding

The research described here was supported by the National Institutes of Health; The Gladowksy Breast Cancer Foundation; The Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation; Hansen Memorial Foundation; West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition for Long Island; Glen Cove CARES; Find a Cure today (FACT); Constance Silveri; Robertson Research Fund; Masthead Cover Yacht Club Carol Marcincuk Fund.

Citation

“A novel phosphatidic acid-protein tyrosine phosphatase D2 axis is essential for ERBB2 signaling in mammary epithelial cell” appeared online April 10, 2015 in Journal of Biological Chemistry. The authors are: Mathangi Ramesh, Navasona Krishnan, Senthil K. Muthuswamy and Nicholas K. Tonks. The paper can be downloaded at: http://www.jbc.org/content/290/15/9646.full.pdf+html?sid=9a96bafd-aa97-4ed5-b6fc-2bc261a3f592

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu

Principal Investigator

Nicholas Tonks

Nicholas Tonks

Professor
Ph.D., University of Dundee, 1985

Tags