Knowing your enemy helps to defeat it. Researchers at the Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan kept that in mind with two separate studies that have helped unlock some secrets of certain kidney cancers.
Learning a cancer's mode of operation is crucial to developing a way to defeat it. Understanding more of a cancer's "moving parts," for example, can reveal new drug targets that scientists may not have known about previously.
The first study compared the aggressive kidney cancer known as Type 2 papillary renal cell carcinoma, or PRCC2, which has no known treatment that works, with clear cell renal cell carcinoma, or CCRCC, a subtype and far more common form of kidney cancer that shrinks away from drugs targeting vascular endothelial growth factor. While the cancers are different, scientists believe that hereditary PRCC2 and CCRCC share similar pathway deregulation. They found that deregulation of the KEAP1-NRF2 signaling pathway does indeed distinguish PRCC2 from CCRCC, but the process links hereditary and sporadic PRCC2. Scientists from Singapore, France and the U.S., including groups such as the Cleveland Clinic, participated.
CCRCC also took the stage for the second study. Researchers collaborating with peers in Singapore wanted to identify genes that factor into the cancer's progression. By integrating gene expression profiling and RNAi screening data, they found that genes related to cell-cycling, such as PLK1, seem to control disease aggressiveness. They also discovered that PLK1 is a potential target in fighting CCRCC.
The studies are published in Cancer Cell and Cancer Research, respectively.
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