Researchers Identify Novel Mechanism

Researchers Identify Novel Mechanism That Make Cancer Tumors Grow

Scientists at the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research (IMBCR) have uncovered a new pathway that could explain how blood vessels form within tumors.

IMBCR researchers uncovered a new way that cancers orchestrate the production of their own blood supply. Recent studies have shown that many tumors make a protein called pleiotrophin (PTN). They now show that PTN produced by tumor cells in multiple myeloma, a common form of bone marrow-based cancer, changes white cells in the blood called “monocytes” into cells that form the lining of blood vessels called “vascular endothelial cells” (VEC). These VEC cells then become incorporated into the blood vessels that form within tumors.

“This is exciting news, and we feel this will not only have a tremendous impact on hematological tumors, such as myeloma, but other cancers as well.” said James R. Berenson, MD, Medical and Scientific Director of the IMBCR. “By uncovering this unique mechanism, how PTN produced by cancers actually changes circulating white cells into cells that line blood vessels that feed the tumor, we can direct our efforts to create more targeted approaches to eliminate blood supplies for cancers which should dramatically improve therapies for many types of cancers.”

Haiming Chen, M.D., Ph.D. is the first author of the research, published this week on the cover of BLOOD. Drs. Berenson and Chen collaborated with scientists at Hemaquest, the Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and Cell Biology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Departments of Neurosurgery, Pathology, and Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Part of IMBCR’s multi-year research project, “Cure Myeloma Project”, this research was funded by grants from the Skirball and Annenberg Foundations, Kramer Family Foundation and the Myeloma Research Fund.
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About IMBCR
The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research is a non-profit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, California. IMBCR is the only independent cancer research institute working to find improved treatment, and ultimately a cure for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood cells that reside in the bone marrow.

IMBCR research has been published in most major oncology journals; Journal of Clinical Oncology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cancer, Clinical Cancer Research, Clinical Lymphoma and Myeloma, Oncogene, and the British Journal of Haematology. www.imbcr.org Media contact: Cheryl Cross ccross@imbcr.org