Plant Offers Scientists New Insights Into Intestinal Cancer
Netherlands, January 4, 2011/PRNewswire/ -- Dutch scientists have
gained important new insights into intestinal cancer from studying
a plant. The disease is called Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, a hereditary
disorder where people develop intestinal polyps that turn into
malignant tumors. "With experiments on these plants we now have a
better understanding of how cancer cells react in the human body,"
says the principle investigator, Maikel Peppelenbosch.
professor of Cell Biology at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, carried
out this research for Top Institute Pharma. "A natural process such
as cell division occurs in both plants and humans," Prof.
Peppelenbosch explains. "Cancer cells that sense they are getting
too much food will rapidly multiply. By imitating this process in
plants and studying what happens to the plant cells we have learned
a great deal about the development of Peutz-Jeghers
Among other things,
the investigators found a protein in the plants that could be a
target for a medicine. They expect the same protein (p21Rac) may
also be disordered in patients with intestinal cancer. "These
insights come from a very unexpected angle," says
According to the
professor in Cell Biology, these new insights could also be used
for another disease, called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). It is
a serious, rare disease that causes tumors in children. "By
imitating the disease in plants, we hope to design a specific
therapy eventually," continues Prof. Peppelenbosch.
Rotterdam, Leiden, Utrecht and Twente, and the biotech company
Pepscan are partners in this Top Institute Pharma project.
About Top Institute
Top Institute Pharma
(TI Pharma) is a public-private cooperation in which scientists and
corporate entities work together on innovative, multidisciplinary
research targeted toward the improvement of the development of
socially valuable medicines. The project portfolio is based on the
clinical areas as described in the "Priority Medicines" report from
the World Health Organization (WHO). These projects create
knowledge that is important for the better, faster, and less
expensive development of valuable new medicines. For more
Note to editorial staff - The plants that form an important link in the research into intestinal cancer are in Rotterdam and may be viewed by appointment.
Source: Top Institute Pharma
For more information,
please contact Ingeborg van der Heijden, communications manager of
TI Pharma, by telephone at +31(0)6-4612-2482 or
Posted: January 2011