Matching Items (19)

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Dynamic clonal equilibrium and predetermined cancer risk in Barrett’s oesophagus

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Surveillance of Barrett’s oesophagus allows us to study the evolutionary dynamics of a human neoplasm over time. Here we use multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization on brush cytology specimens, from

Surveillance of Barrett’s oesophagus allows us to study the evolutionary dynamics of a human neoplasm over time. Here we use multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization on brush cytology specimens, from two time points with a median interval of 37 months in 195 non-dysplastic Barrett's patients, and a third time point in a subset of 90 patients at a median interval of 36 months, to study clonal evolution at single-cell resolution. Baseline genetic diversity predicts progression and remains in a stable dynamic equilibrium over time. Clonal expansions are rare, being detected once every 36.8 patient years, and growing at an average rate of 1.58 cm[superscript 2] (95% CI: 0.09–4.06) per year, often involving the p16 locus. This suggests a lack of strong clonal selection in Barrett’s and that the malignant potential of ‘benign’ Barrett’s lesions is predetermined, with important implications for surveillance programs.

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  • 2016-08-19

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Peto’s Paradox: how has evolution solved the problem of cancer prevention?

Description

The risk of developing cancer should theoretically increase with both the number of cells and the lifespan of an organism. However, gigantic animals do not get more cancer than humans,

The risk of developing cancer should theoretically increase with both the number of cells and the lifespan of an organism. However, gigantic animals do not get more cancer than humans, suggesting that super-human cancer suppression has evolved numerous times across the tree of life. This is the essence and promise of Peto’s Paradox. We discuss what is known about Peto’s Paradox and provide hints of what is yet to be discovered.

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Date Created
  • 2017-07-13

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Developing a new model organism in cancer research: Trichoplax adhaerens (Placozoa)

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All multicellular organisms are susceptible to developing cancer, but some organisms have varying sensitivities to the disease. One such organism is the Trichoplax adhaerens which has no documented case of

All multicellular organisms are susceptible to developing cancer, but some organisms have varying sensitivities to the disease. One such organism is the Trichoplax adhaerens which has no documented case of cancer development. T. adhaerens cancer resistance was studied by observing physiological and morphological changes of the organism after radiation treatment. Preliminary experiments suggested that this organism is able to survive exposure to 160 gray radiation treatment almost as well as untreated organisms. The T. adhaerens have two genes, TriadG6402 and TriadG5479, similar to the human genes TP53 and MDM2 respectively. TP53 and MDM2 are the two main genes associated with apoptosis in humans: an important cell regulatory checkpoint involved in cancer prevention. PCR analysis, done after radiation treatment, showed an overexpression of the ortholog gene MDM2 in the T. adhaerens. This may suggest that T. adhaerens block apoptosis from occurring and that their ortholog gene is involved in DNA repair. It is significant to study the gene expression of TriadG6402 and TriadG54791 in T. adhaerens because these genes are well conserved in humans. Future studies of these genes in the T. adhaerens can be used to understand the evolution of the function of these genes in more complex organisms and be used for human cancer prevention.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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The Effect of Inbreeding and Life History Traits on the Risk of Cancer Mortality in Dogs

Description

Due to artificial selection, dogs have high levels of phenotypic diversity, yet, there appears to be low genetic diversity within individual breeds. Through their domestication from wolves, dogs have gone

Due to artificial selection, dogs have high levels of phenotypic diversity, yet, there appears to be low genetic diversity within individual breeds. Through their domestication from wolves, dogs have gone through a series of population bottlenecks, which has resulted in a reduction in genetic diversity, with a large amount of linkage disequilibrium and the persistence of deleterious mutations. This has led to an increased susceptibility to a multitude of diseases, including cancer. To study the effects of artificial selection and life history characteristics on the risk of cancer mortality, we collected cancer mortality data from four studies as well as the percent of heterozygosity, body size, lifespan and breed group for 201 dog breeds. We also collected specific types of cancer breeds were susceptible to and compared the dog cancer mortality patterns to the patterns observed in other mammals. We found a relationship between cancer mortality rate and heterozygosity, body size, lifespan as well as breed group. Higher levels of heterozygosity were also associated with longer lifespan. These results indicate larger breeds, such as Irish Water Spaniels, Flat-coated Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs, are more susceptible to cancer, with lower heterozygosity and lifespan. These breeds are also more susceptible to sarcomas, as opposed to carcinomas in smaller breeds, such as Miniature Pinschers, Chihuahuas, and Pekingese. Other mammals show that larger and long-lived animals have decreased cancer mortality, however, within dog breeds, the opposite relationship is observed. These relationships could be due to the trade-off between cellular maintenance and growing fast and large, with higher expression of growth factors, such as IGF-1. This study further demonstrates the relationships between cancer mortality, heterozygosity, and life history traits and exhibits dogs as an important model organism for understanding the relationship between genetics and health.

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  • 2017-12

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The Genomics of Cancer Resistance in Long-Lived Vesper Bats

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Bats (order Chiroptera) are the longest lived mammals for their size, with particularly extreme longevity evolving in the family Vespertilionidae, or vesper bats. Because of this, researchers have proposed using

Bats (order Chiroptera) are the longest lived mammals for their size, with particularly extreme longevity evolving in the family Vespertilionidae, or vesper bats. Because of this, researchers have proposed using bats to study ageing and cancer suppression. Here, we study gene duplications across mammalian genomes and show that, similar to previous findings in elephants, bats have experienced duplications of the tumor suppressor gene TP53, including five genomic copies in the genome of the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and two copies in Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii). These species can live 37 and 41 years, respectively, despite having an adult body mass of only ~7 grams. We use evolutionary genetics and next generation sequencing approaches to show that positive selection has acted on the TP53 locus across bats, and two recently duplicated TP53 gene copies in the little brown bat are both highly conserved and expressed, suggesting they are functional. We also report an extraordinary genomic copy number expansion of the tumor suppressor gene FBXO31 in the common ancestor of vesper bats which accelerated in the Myotis lineage, leading to 34\u201457 copies and the expression of 20 functional FBXO31 homologs in Brandt's bat. As FBXO31 directs the degradation of MDM2, which is a negative regulator of TP53, we suggest that increased expression of both FBXO31 and TP53 may be related to an enhanced DNA-damage response to genotoxic stress brought on by long lifespans and rapid metabolic rates in bats.

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Date Created
  • 2018-12

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A Life History Model of Mammary Neoplasia Across Mammals

Description

Cancer rates vary significantly across tissue type and location in humans, driven by clinically relevant distinctions in the risk factors that lead to different cancer types. Despite the importance of

Cancer rates vary significantly across tissue type and location in humans, driven by clinically relevant distinctions in the risk factors that lead to different cancer types. Despite the importance of cancer location in human health, little is known about tissue-specific cancers in non-human animals. A comparison of cancer prevalence across the tree of life can give insight into how evolutionary history has shaped various mechanisms of cancer suppression. Here, we explore whether species-level life history strategies are associated with differences in mammary neoplasia rates across mammals. We propose that the same patterns of cancer prevalence that have been reported across species will be maintained at the tissue-specific level. We used a phylogenetic regression on 15 life history traits across 112 mammalian species to determine the correlation between a life history trait and how it relates to mammary neoplasia prevalence. A greater risk of mammary neoplasia was found in the characteristics associated with fast life history organisms and a lower risk of mammary neoplasia was found in the characteristics associated with slow life history organisms. With this analysis, a framework is provided for how different life history modalities can influence cancer vulnerability.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Development of a new model organism in cancer research: Macrostomum lignano (Platyhelminthes)

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Macrostomum lignano is characterized by its elevated regenerative ability conferred by its high percentage of stem cells (the highest recorded for any animal). M. lignano is already used as a

Macrostomum lignano is characterized by its elevated regenerative ability conferred by its high percentage of stem cells (the highest recorded for any animal). M. lignano is already used as a model organism for addressing fundamental questions of stem cell biology, aging, regeneration, and reproduction, but not yet cancer.
M. lignano larvae were isolated into separate wells of 24-well plates. After reaching maturity (30 days), the experimental plates were exposed to 5 Gys of X-rays every 4 days for a total of a 25 Gy exposure. We observed phenotypes that may be attributed to the acute effect of irradiation (e.g. blisters) but we recorded two types of phenotypes that may be a result of long-term effects of exposure to radiation. We observed enlarged testis and dark regions/masses that appeared statistically significantly more frequently in the treated animals (Fisher exact test, p=0.0026). Preliminary histological analyses of the enlarged testis suggest a benign testis enlargement due to an aberrant growth of the testes and an accumulation of aberrant spermatozoa. Importantly, we found that, similar to cancer, the dark masses can grow in size over time and the histological analysis confirms that the observed masses are composed of cells completely different from surrounding normal cells. Notably, we observed that those masses can develop and then completely disappear through an observed method of ejection. M. lignano offer the unique possibility to study in vivo cancer development in a simple organism that can easily be cultured in the lab in large numbers.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Body Size Evolution and Cancer Defenses Across Ruminants

Description

Cancer is a disease acquired through mutations which leads to uncontrolled cell division and destruction of normal tissue within the body. Recent increases in available cross-species data of cancer in

Cancer is a disease acquired through mutations which leads to uncontrolled cell division and destruction of normal tissue within the body. Recent increases in available cross-species data of cancer in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates has revealed that the prevalence of cancers varies widely across species. Life-history theory suggests that there could be traits that potentially explain some of that variation. We are particularly interested in species that get very little cancer. How are they preventing cancer and can we learn from them how to prevent cancer in humans? Comparative oncology focuses on the analysis of cancer prevalence and traits in different non-human species and allows researchers to apply their findings to humans with the goal of improving and advancing cancer treatment. We incorporate the predictions that animals with larger bodies have evolved better cancer suppression mechanisms than animals with small bodies. Ruminants in the past were larger in size than modern day ruminants and they may have retained cancer defenses from their large ancestors. The strong cancer defenses and small body size combined may explain the low prevalence of cancer in Ruminants. This paper aims to evaluate the presence of benign and malignant neoplasia prevalence across multiple ruminant species following a time of dramatic decrease in body size across the clade. Our aim is to illuminate the potential impact that these shifts in body size had on their cancer prevalence as well as test the statistical power of other key life history variables to predict cancer prevalence.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Exploring nuclease resistance and biological stability of threose nucleic acid

Description

Nucleic acid polymers have numerous applications in both therapeutics and research to control gene expression and bind biologically relevant targets. However, due to poor biological stability their clinical applications are

Nucleic acid polymers have numerous applications in both therapeutics and research to control gene expression and bind biologically relevant targets. However, due to poor biological stability their clinical applications are limited. Chemical modifications can improve both intracellular and extracellular stability and enhance resistance to nuclease degradation. To identify a potential candidate for a highly stable synthetic nucleic acid, the biostability of α-L-threofuranosyl nucleic acid (TNA) was evaluated under simulated biological conditions. TNA contains a four-carbon sugar and is linked by 2’, 3’ phosphodiester bonds. We hypothesized that this distinct chemical structure would yield greater nuclease resistance in human serum and human liver microsomes, which were selected as biologically relevant nuclease conditions. We found that TNA oligonucleotides remained undigested for 7 days in these conditions. In addition, TNA/DNA heteropolymers and TNA/RNA oligonucleotide duplexes displayed nuclease resistance, suggesting that TNA has a protective effect over DNA and RNA. In conclusion TNA demonstrates potential as a viable synthetic nucleic acid for use in numerous clinical and therapeutic applications.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Preclinical assessment of Wee1 inhibitor AZD1775 and DNA damaging agents in the chemotherapeutic treatment of esophageal adenocarcinoma with mutated TP53

Description

Background: Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is one of the only malignancies whose incidence is rising in the United States. Current multidrug treatment for EAC has considerable toxic side effects that necessitate

Background: Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is one of the only malignancies whose incidence is rising in the United States. Current multidrug treatment for EAC has considerable toxic side effects that necessitate the development of less toxic, more specific target drugs. Recent large scale genomic analysis reveals that TP53 is the most frequently inactivated gene in EAC. One of the primary functions of TP53 and its gene product, the tumor suppressor p53, is in regulation of DNA repair in response to DNA damage. Inactivation of TP53 results in loss of the G1/S cell cycle checkpoint, and dependence on the G2/M checkpoint for DNA repair. Activity of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) is necessary for cells to exit the G2/M checkpoint and enter mitosis. Phosphorylation of CDK1 by the wee1 kinase inhibits CDK1 in response to DNA damage, allowing cells to maintain G2 arrest and repair the damaged DNA. Active in normal cells, wee1 kinase is critical in cancer cells to promote DNA repair and cell survival in response to DNA damage, particularly from commonly used DNA damaging therapies. AZD1775 is a small molecule inhibitor of wee1 kinase, currently under investigation in clinical trials. AZD1775 differentially targets cancer cells by blocking wee1 mediated inhibition of CDK1 and consequently preventing G2/M arrest in response to DNA damage. Combination of AZD1775 with DNA damaging agents is thought to push cancer cells with damaged DNA through to mitosis and initiate apoptosis instead of G2/M arrest and DNA repair. Based upon the incidence of TP53 mutation in EAC, we hypothesize that treatment with a DNA damaging agent in combination with AZD1775 will be as effective at eliciting DNA damage and cell death as the more toxic current standard of care, which is comprised of treatment with cisplatin, docetaxel, and radiation. Methods: p53 mutant EAC cell lines were dosed with cisplatin, AZD1775, and the combination of cisplatin and AZD1775, and then assayed for viability. Nude mice were implanted with p53 mutant patient derived xenograft esophageal adenocarcinoma tumors and randomized for treatment with AZD1775 alone, cisplatin and AZD1775, radiation and AZD1775, cisplatin, docetaxel, and radiation or vehicle (control). Tumor volume was measured over the five week treatment course. Results: In vitro and in vivo assays reveal a potent synergistic effect between AZD1775 and DNA damaging agents that is as efficacious as the standard of care therapy. The difference in AZD1775 sensitivity among TP53 mutant EAC cell lines indicates that TP53 alone may not be an adequate biomarker to assess for AZD1775- mediated toxicity.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05