Tagged: Oncotarget

Trending with Impact: New Plant Extracts Reveal Anti-aging Properties

In search of natural compounds with previously unknown geroprotective properties, researchers used a strain of budding yeast to test 53 plant extracts for their ability to impact the biology of aging and age-related diseases.

Scientist is sampling a chemical extract from organic natural, research and develop background. Scientific concept is sample project about herbal medicine.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

As we age, humans are subjected to a wide variety of age-related diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver dysfunction, sarcopenia, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and many forms of cancer.

Plant extracts have been consumed for hundreds of years in dietary customs and used as traditional herbal medicines in China and in the Mediterranean. Some of these plant extracts are classified by government health agencies, such as Health Canada, as not only safe for human consumption but also as health-improving supplements with clinically proven benefits to human health. Researchers hypothesized that some of these plant extracts (PEs) may have geroprotective properties. A geroprotector is any compound capable of modulating the root cause of aging and age-related diseases to prolong lifespan in modeled organisms and animals. A couple of well-known potential geroprotectors include melatonin and metformin.

In their previous 2016 study, researchers from Concordia University and Idunn Technologies—both located in Quebec, Canada—screened thirty-five plant extracts and identified 6 as capable of prolonging the length of time a cell can survive, or its chronological lifespan (CLS), and delaying chronological aging in the wild type strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae budding yeast. On a mission to uncover a new set of plant extracts with geroprotectivity, these same researchers conducted a larger screening of plant extracts in a 2020 study. 

“The objective of the present study was to search for previously unknown aging-delaying (geroprotective) PEs. To attain this objective, we conducted a new screen of many extracts from plants used in traditional Chinese and other herbal medicines or the Mediterranean and other diets.”

The Study

In this study, to learn more about new PEs and the mechanisms of aging and longevity, the researchers continued using the wild type strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae budding yeast. They explained that S. cerevisiae has short and easily measurable replicative (number of times a cell can divide prior to senescence) and chronological lifespans, is completely sequenced, commercially available, and conducive to comprehensive molecular analyses.

Researchers tested 53 new plant extracts on chronologically aging S. cerevisiae budding yeast. The plant extracts were derived from fruits, berries, beans, herbs, flowers, roots, seeds, leaves, stems, whole plants, bulbs, buds, bark, skins, resin, aerial parts, mushroom bodies, and fermented rice.

“In a quest for previously unknown geroprotective natural chemicals, we used a robust cell viability assay to search for commercially available plant extracts that can substantially prolong the chronological lifespan of budding yeast.”

To determine geroprotectivity from these plant extracts, the researchers cultured, diluted, and fed the budding yeast with glucose. Then, after adding the new PEs, they performed a variety of tests and calculated measurements, including: chronological lifespan assay; oxygen consumption assay; plating assay; quantitative assay; fluorescence microscopy; measurements of the frequencies of spontaneous mutations; glucose concentration measurement assay; age-specific mortality rates; the Gompertz slope; the mortality rate coefficient; and mortality rate doubling time.

Results

“We discovered fifteen PEs that extend the longevity of chronologically aging budding yeast.”

The team was able to identify 15 new geroprotective PEs that have not previously been known for their ability to prolong the lifespan of yeast or other organisms. Based on the results of their measurements and assays, the researchers also identified the cellular processes that these PEs engaged in to prolong the yeast’s chronological lifespan.

“Our study provides evidence that each of the fifteen longevity-extending PEs satisfies all the criteria previously proposed for a CRM.”

CR stands for caloric restriction and CRM stands for caloric restriction mimetics. This means that these new PEs were found capable of mimicking the substantial anti-aging effects that calorie restriction has on organisms and animals, without a reduction in calorie intake.

“Each of the fifteen PEs extends the longevity of chronologically aging yeast under non-CR conditions on 2% (w/v) glucose significantly more efficiently than it does under CR conditions on 0.5% (w/v) glucose.”

They found that the PEs extended the longevity of chronologically aging yeast by decreasing the rate of aging, stimulating a hormetic stress response, intensifying mitochondrial respiration, altering the pattern of age-related changes in intracellular reactive oxygen species, and increasing cell resistance to long-term oxidative and thermal stresses.

“Each of the fifteen geroprotective PEs decreases the extent of age-related oxidative damage to cellular proteins, and many of them slow the aging-associated buildup of oxidatively impaired membrane lipids as well as mitochondrial and nuclear DNA.”

In addition to many more findings, the effects of 15 PEs were found to decrease the frequency of mitochondrial DNA mutations in rib2 and rib3 proteins under non-calorie restricted conditions in S. cerevisiae.

Conclusion

The 15 plant extracts in this study that were newly discovered as geroprotective are as follows: berry extract from a small palm commonly known as Saw Palmetto, extract of the aerial parts from a flowering plant commonly known as the St. John’s Wort, extract from the leaf of Yerba Mate, whole plant extract of Yerba Mate, extract from the leaf of Holy Basil Tulsi, extract from the herb of the perennial plant Solidago Virgaurea, Orange fruit extract, whole plant extract from the common Hop (used in beer), Grape skin extract, whole plant extract from the Green Chiretta, root extract from the perennial Goldenseal herb, Fenugreek seed extract, Barberry root bark extract, extract from the leaf, flower, and stem of the common Hawthorn, and leaf extract from the Red-seeded Dandelion.

“Therefore, we are interested in investigating how different combinations of the fifteen geroprotective PEs described here influence the extent of yeast chronological aging delay. We will be looking for the combinations of geroprotective PEs that exhibit synergistic or additive effects on the extent of yeast chronological aging delay.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Bacterial Therapy Experiments in Prostate Cancer

Researchers reveal their positive findings from a study of bacterial cancer therapy using a strain of Salmonella typhimurium in mouse-modeled prostate cancer.

PC-3 human prostate cancer cells stained with blue Coomassie, under a differential interference contrast microscope. - Image
PC-3 human prostate cancer cells stained with blue Coomassie, under a differential interference contrast microscope.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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Over the past few decades, numerous studies have emerged using the promising strategy of bacteria as vehicles to deliver drugs or genes in tumor‐targeted therapies. Researchers say that bacterial cancer therapy may be able to overcome some of the limitations that conventional cancer therapy is stunted by, including the development of drug resistance. 

Researchers in this study—from Yale University in Connecticut, the University of Missouri, the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, and the Cancer Research Center in Missouri, and DeSales University in Pennsylvania, U.S.—used a Salmonella typhimurium strain (CRC2631) of bacteria (previously reported to have tumor-targeting capabilities) in prostate cancer-positive mouse-models and evaluated its toxicity, targeting ability, and genetic stability.

“Here, we report the toxicological and in vivo tumor-targeting profiles of CRC2631 in the syngeneic and autochthonous mouse model of aggressive prostate cancer, TRAMP (Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of Mouse Prostate).”

“The B6FVB TRAMP model recapitulates some of the key genetic aspects of human prostate cancer.”

The Study

“VNP20009 is considered as the safety benchmark in bacterial cancer therapy development because it has been safely administered in human cancer patients [7, 30].”

“To determine the safety profile of CRC2631, we performed CRC2631 and VNP20009 comparative toxicological studies in TRAMP animals.”

The team focused on measuring toxicity through treatment-related weight loss and lethality. Groups of 14-week-old B6FVB TRAMP-positive mice were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging. Four mice were dosed with CRC2631, and four were dosed with VNP20009; both treated four times per week. Mice were weighed and monitored daily for four weeks.

Since the CRC2631 bacteria are cleared out through the liver, the researchers also sought to establish the impact of CRC2631 on liver pathology in this bacterial cancer therapy. Two groups of 31-week-old B6FVB TRAMP-positive mice were observed, one treated with four doses of CRC2631 and the other with saline (the control group) at three-day intervals. They used histological staining in the liver to observe differences in necrosis, inflammation, and extramedullary hematopoiesis between CRC2631 and the control group. The team then tested for lethality and the maximum tolerated dose of CRC2631.

“Next, we sought to determine the in vivo tumor-targeting capability of CRC2631 in TRAMP animals.”

Using fluorescence imaging and a chloramphenicol resistance cassette, researchers were able to observe the biodistribution of CRC2631 to determine its tumor-targeting capability in TRAMP-positive mice. Since they knew that CRC2631 is filtered through the liver and that enriched colonies may be found here, researchers used the liver as a way to compare the bacterial load in tumor tissues.

The researchers also tested CRC2631’s genetic stability by gauging its likelihood of regaining toxicity and/or losing tumor targeting capability by performing longitudinal, whole genome sequencing and short nucleotide polymorphism analyses.

“To determine the genetic stability of CRC2631 inside the host, we performed longitudinal whole genome sequencing and short nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses of CRC2631 prior to treatment and tumor-passaged CRC2631 in B6 TRAMP (+) mice.”

In vitro, CRC2631 directly kills prostate cancer cells, however, in vivo, it does not lead to decreased tumor burden. The researchers believe this may be due to the effects of some kind of resistance mechanism in vivo, and tested a combined treatment method of CRC2631 and Invivomab—a checkpoint blockade—in the mouse model.

“CRC2631 targets and directly kills murine and human prostate cancer cells in vitro (Supplementary Figure 2), raising the possibility that unknown resistance mechanisms protect tumor cells from CRC2631-mediated cell death in vivo.”

Results

Researchers explain that in the first two weeks of the study, mice treated with CRC2631 and VNP20009 lost a comparable amount of weight. However, in the second half of the study, VNP20009-treated animals lost progressively more weight than those treated with CRC2631. This revealed that CRC2631 is less toxic than VNP20009.

“Consistent with CRC2631 being less toxic than VNP20009, the median survival time was 142 days for VNP20009 compared to 186 days for CRC2631 (Figure 1F).”

After evaluating effects in the liver from CRC2631, they found no differences between CRC2631 and the control group in liver necrosis, inflammation, or extramedullary hematopoiesis.

“Thus, in contrast to VNP20009, CRC2631 does not cause overt liver pathology.”

They established the maximum tolerated dose to be two doses of 5 × 10^7 colony forming units, administered three days apart. In the model used in fluorescence imaging, they found that CRC2631 was significantly colonized in the tumor tissue of mice when compared to colonization in the liver and, as the dosage increased, CRC2631 quantities in tumor tissues also increased.

“Taken together, these data indicate that CRC2631^iRFP720-cat targets primary tumors and metastases.”

Researchers revealed that it would take approximately 9375 days for CRC2631 to acquire a potential mutation in any specific gene. They determined CRC2631 to be a genetically stable tumor-targeting mechanism. Next, they collected results from the CRC2631 and Invivomab immune checkpoint blockade combination.

“We turned our focus to an interaction between CRC2631 and immune cells and asked whether tumor-targeted CRC2631 generates an anti-tumor immune response that tumors rapidly inhibit via immune checkpoint mechanisms.”

They found that tumor burdens were significantly reduced in the combination treatment method, and ultimately, that CRC2631 treatment with a checkpoint blockade combination reduces the metastatic burden in mouse-modeled prostate cancer.

Conclusion

The study as a whole revealed to the researchers that CRC2631 safely targets primary tumors and metastases, is less toxic than VNP20009, does not cause overt liver pathology, and that, in combination with an immune checkpoint blockade such as Invivomab, it reduces metastatic burden in vivo in B6FVB TRAMP-positive mice.

“These findings indicate that CRC2631 is a genetically stable biologic that safely targets tumors. Moreover, tumor-targeted CRC2631 induces anti-tumor immune activity and concordantly reduces metastasis burden in the setting of checkpoint blockade.”

With more research, this method may soon be studied as an effective clinical treatment option for human prostate cancer.

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: RNA-Seq Analyses Show Targets in B-cell Lymphoma

“The current study is the first of its kind, wherein comprehensive transcriptome analysis using RNA-Seq was performed in Notch2 depleted B-cell lymphoma cells.”

Malignant effusion cytology: microscopic image of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a type of non Hodgkin lymphoma.
Malignant effusion cytology: microscopic image of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a type of non Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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Splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) is a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that comprises approximately 10% of all lymphoma cases. Marginal zone lymphomas (MZL) originate from B memory lymphocytes (B-cells) in the marginal zone of secondary lymphoid follicles within the spleen, bone marrow, and blood.

Due to the rarity of SMZL, no randomized trials have yet been reported—only retrospective studies and some prospective studies have been conducted. The irregularity of frequency and the indolent nature of this disease makes SMZL a challenge for doctors to determine a standardized care or treatment plan other than intervention by splenectomy.

Bringing with it great potential, researchers have found that a pivotal gene is mutated in SMZL: the Notch2 gene. The abnormal signaling and increased expression in Notch2 has been observed in a number of cancers, including MZL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, medulloblastoma, and glioblastoma.

“A wide range of Notch2 mutations have been identified with relevance to different cancers, but the role of Notch2 and its downstream pathways in development of B-cell lymphoma has not been comprehensively studied to date.”

Researchers from the School of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, India, conducted a study of RNA sequencing analyses to reveal the differentially expressed genes and pathways as Notch2 targets in B-cell lymphoma.

Whole Transcriptome Analysis

The researchers in this study explain that transcriptome analysis and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) provided them the opportunity to deeply and unbiasedly screen for the molecular changes that occur in Notch2 deregulated B-cells and to identify the genes and pathways downstream from it as potential targets.

“RNA-Seq is a more sensitive technology than expression profiling analysis using arrays, due to their low sensitivity and cross-hybridization of probes and targets [34]. “

In order to deregulate, or knockdown, Notch2 expression, the researchers employed short, or small, hairpin RNAs (shRNAs). shRNAs are artificially created RNA molecules that can be used to silence target gene expression (Notch2, in this case) via RNA interference.

“To determine the efficacy of Notch2-shRNA in reducing the intracellular levels of Notch2, we treated A549 (lung cancer) and SSK-41 cells (B-cell lymphoma) with viral supernatants of two different shRNA constructs in a lentiviral vector targeting Notch2.” 

“The current study is the first of its kind, wherein comprehensive transcriptome analysis using RNA-Seq was performed in Notch2 depleted B-cell lymphoma cells.”

The Study

 “In the present study, whole transcriptome analysis was performed in B-cells, where Notch2 expression is knocked down using Notch2-shRNA and compared with control scramble-shRNA treated cells.”

In their first step, the researchers identified a total of 15,083 differentially expressed genes and 1067 differentially expressed transcripts in control and Notch2-shRNA treated samples. They used a condition tree, correlation matrix, and principal component analysis test to measure significant reproducibility, similarity, and distance between the treated and untreated group. 

In their second step, a gene enrichment analysis was performed in the differentially expressed genes using the DAVID tool. This resulted in the identification of 208 unique gene ontology (GO) categories and pathways.

Results

“Among the 208 GO categories, 31 pathways were significantly enriched in biological processes (BP), 3 pathways were significantly enriched in cellular components (CC) and 18 pathways were significantly enriched in molecular functions (MF).”

The researchers state that the significantly enriched terms they found could help with further understanding which differentially expressed genes and differentially expressed transcripts play causative roles in the onset of B-cell lymphoma.

“The RNA-Seq and bioinformatics technology revealed notable information regarding gene expression at the transcriptome level and identified multiple significant molecular pathways in response to knockdown of Notch2.”

Figure 9: Pathway analysis. Gene regulatory network analysis for DEGs upon Notch2 knockdown were predicted by Pathreg algorithm and visualized in Cytoscape v2.8.2. Predicted pathways are depicted as rounded rectangles, where shades in red correspond to upregulated genes and shades in green correspond to downregulated genes.
Figure 9: Pathway analysis. Gene regulatory network analysis for differentially expressed genes upon Notch2 knockdown were predicted by Pathreg algorithm and visualized in Cytoscape v2.8.2. Predicted pathways are depicted as rounded rectangles, where shades in red correspond to upregulated genes and shades in green correspond to downregulated genes.

“The results of our gene network analysis suggest that, knockdown of Notch2 modulates multiple important cellular pathways, including immune-related pathways, apoptotic related pathway, PI3K/AKT, BCR, mTOR, VEGF, Wnt and Ca2+ signaling pathways.”

Conclusion

The authors note that the NF-kB signaling pathway is a major pathway that leads to cell survival with the ability to “cross-talk” with other survival pathways, including PI3K/AKT, in various cancers.

“Since activation of PI3K/AKT pathway is known to promote cell proliferation, cell survival, growth and angiogenesis in cancers [40], it is important to know if Notch2 propels cancer progression through activation of this pathway. “

However, the researchers mention that the exact mechanism that Notch2 regulates NF-kB activity through the activation of PI3K/AKT and inhibits apoptosis in B-cell lymphoma still need to be determined. 

“Nevertheless, establishing the role of PI3K/AKT pathway in Notch2 activated cancers could be very important to consider it as an alternative treatment target in mitigating the effects of Notch2 transactivity in these cancers.” 

Click here to read the full study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Nimotuzumab Improves Non-HPV Oropharynx Cancers

Researchers perform a subgroup analysis study demonstrating positive results in patients with HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancers due to the addition of nimotuzumab while receiving cisplatin and radiation treatment.

An image depicting the nasopharynx, pharynx, and the oropharynx.
An image depicting the nasopharynx, pharynx, and the oropharynx.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

Oral cancer in any part of the oropharynx (the back-third of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, and back and sides of the throat) is called oropharyngeal cancer. Each year, oral cancer accounts for around 53,000 new patient diagnoses in the United States. However, the highest number of cases of oral cancer in the world are found in India, and this number is increasing.

“As opposed to HPV related oropharyngeal cancer, HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers have worse prognosis.”

Researchers from Tata Memorial Hospital and Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, India, previously reported that in a phase three randomized study of an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor medication and, called cetuximab, showed a trend towards improvement when used in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancers. Compared with results in other similar studies, they believe their results were likely due to a younger cohort of patients with predominantly HPV negative diseases.

“Taking this into consideration, we decided to perform a subgroup analysis of the HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer cohort, to study the absolute improvement in 2-year outcomes with the addition of nimotuzumab. We compared 2 year progression free survival (PFS), disease free survival (DFS), locoregional control (LRC) and overall survival (OS) between both arms.”

The Study

“HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer has unsatisfactory treatment outcomes and is a candidate for escalation of treatment. We wanted to determine whether the addition of nimotuzumab to cisplatin-radiation could improve outcomes in these poor-risk tumors.”

In this study, the researchers gathered 536 patients undergoing definitive chemoradiation for locally advanced head and neck cancers, with 269 having a primary tumor located in the oropharynx. Of these patients, 187 were p16 protein negative and were divided into two treatment arms: 91 in the cisplatin-radiotherapy (CRT) treatment arm and 97 in the nimotuzumab-cisplatin-radiotherapy (NCRT) treatment arm. Nimotuzumab is an antibody that binds to epidermal growth factor receptor IgG1 and a radiosensitizer.

The cohort consisted of only 21 females, therefore the participants were primarily male, with a median age of 54.5, 90% reported tobacco use, and 80% were in disease stage IV. Patients in the CRT treatment arm were given 30mg/m2 of cisplatin weekly, in addition to radiation therapy. In the NCRT treatment arm, in addition to radiation therapy, patients received 200 mg of nimotuzumab and 30 mg/m2 cisplatin weekly. 

Results

Researchers found that the HPV positive/negative interaction test using immunohistochemistry staining taken by each participant was a significant determinant in progression free survival, locoregional control, and overall survival, but not in disease free survival. They suggest this data shows that the addition of nimotuzumab has a differential patient impact on disease free survival with respect to HPV status.

In patients taking nimotuzumab, improvement in locoregional control was largely responsible for their improvement in progression free survival. On average, time to locoregional failure in the CRT treatment arm was 17.3 months, and in the NCRT treatment arm, it was 60.3 months. The team also found that the addition of nimotuzumab led to an 18.6% improvement in 2-year overall survival, jumping from 39.0% to 57.6%.

Figure 4: Restricted mean overall survival plots of both arms. arm = 0 represents the plot of the cisplatin radiotherapy arm while arm = 1 represents the plot of the Nimotuzumab-cisplatin radiotherapy arm.
Figure 4: Restricted mean overall survival plots of both arms. arm = 0 represents the plot of the cisplatin radiotherapy arm while arm = 1 represents the plot of the Nimotuzumab-cisplatin radiotherapy arm.

“Locoregional control, progression-free survival and overall survival were improved with the addition of nimotuzumab to cisplatin and radiation.”

Conclusion

“The addition of nimotuzumab to weekly cisplatin-radiation improves outcomes inclusive of OS in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers.”

“The results of the current study clarify the importance of treatment intensification in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Oncotarget Launches New Special Collection on Breast Cancer

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As you may know, Oncotarget is a scientific journal that publishes oncology-focused review and research papers every week on its open access platform — available at no cost to readers. Recently, a new Special Collections series debuted, and the first collection launched in honor of breast cancer awareness.

What makes our collections special? 

Oncotarget carefully selects the most credible and insightful studies to publish on Oncotarget.com, while also choosing papers that link different fields of oncology, cancer research, and biomedical sciences together to eliminate borders between specialties. The term “oncotarget” encompasses all molecules, pathways, cellular functions, cell types, and tissues that can be viewed as targets relevant to cancer, as well as other diseases. This journal is a resource for oncology researchers and the larger scientific community.

Before a study is published in Oncotarget, selected papers are meticulously peer-reviewed by an editorial board of award-winning scientific editors from academic universities and institutions well-known for their excellence and precision. Click here for a complete list of Oncotarget Editorial Board members.

Breast cancer research

Each year, over 40,000 women and men lose the fight against breast cancer in the United States. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. The spread of breast cancer awareness and increase in research funding has helped develop advances and discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of this proliferous cancer. 

The new Special Collections by Oncotarget are yet another tool researchers and science readers alike may use as a resource to learn more about breast cancer. The creators of these collections also hope that they may be used by scientists to discover new biomarkers, mechanisms, and therapies to improve our quality of life and better treat cancer and diseases.

Click here to explore the Special Collection on breast cancer.

Thanks to Impact Journals, we know exercise helps to fight breast cancer—for free

oncotarget

A recent breakthrough medical study has revealed that exercise has been proven to combat breast cancer.  The paper, entitled “Anticancer effect of physical activity is mediated by modulation of extracellular microRNA in blood,” was recently published in a June 2020 issue of the free online open-access medical journal Oncotarget. It was authored by an international team of medical researchers, headed by Dr. Alessandra Pulliero of the University of Genoa in Italy, and included Doctors Ming You, Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, Barbara Marengo, Cinzia Domenicotti, Barbara Banelli, Paolo Degan, Luigi Molfetta, Fabio Gianiorio, and Alberto Izzotti.

The paper has already received widespread acclaim and coverage, reproduced online by prestigious organizations such as the National Center for Biotechnology Information (a branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and ResearchGate.

THE STUDY

While previous medical studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, it’s been a mystery up to now exactly how this happens. Medical researchers have long suspected that this healing process is triggered by microRNAs, cellular fragments of RNA (ribonucleic acid) also known as miRNAs.

What’s RNA? Like DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA is one of the building blocks of life. It acts as a messenger transmitting instructions that control the synthesis of proteins. MicroRNAs stop a particular protein from being produced by binding to, and then destroying, the messenger RNA that would have produced this protein.

It is known that miRNAs are incredibly important when it comes to carcinogenesis (the creation of cancer) and cancer outcomes. In addition, MiRNAs regulate the creation of muscle tissueand muscle mass, and it’s been learned that structured exercise controls the creation of miRNA, especially in skeletal muscle.

The research team endeavored to test how exercise in breast cancer patients changed the production of miRNA in their bodies. To begin, 30 women from northern Italy between 54 and 78 years old walked for 45 minutes on the treadmill under identical conditions. Blood samples were taken from them both before and after the exercise sessions.

THE RESULTS

A technique known as microarray analysis revealed that structured exercise modified 14 different extracellular miRNAs related to cancer. Structured exercise caused all these miRNAs to decrease, except for a miRNA called miR-206, which increased. The researchers discovered that the most striking effects induced by exercise were changes in two miRNAs involved in breast cancer progression.

When the researchers investigated the biological effects of these two miRNAs on human breast cancer cells, they conclusively learned that working together, the changes in these two microRNAs activated by a physical exercise program suppressed breast cancer cells. Since too many miRNAs are linked to triggering inflammation and the creation of lymphocytes (white blood cells in the lymph system, which can influence breast cancer), the researchers also believe that structured exercise might reduce inflammation by modulating miRNA in the blood.

They also found that structured exercise improved blood pressure and glucose levels (cancerous tumors feed on glucose) among participants. The doctors discovered that these improvements in blood pressure and glucose levels helped regulate the miRNAs being studied, and in turn helped the miRNAs combat cancer.

This international team of researchers is confident that by testing for the levels of these miRNAs in patients’ blood, they’ve achieved a non-invasive way of establishing biomarkers (a measurable sign of whether a disease is present or how severe it is) to prevent breast cancer. This is potentially a significant breakthrough in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

As a result of this study, the medical community now knows that structured exercise fights breast cancer, and it’s been given a non-invasive way to diagnose and battle breast cancer—and possibly other forms of cancers as well.

ABOUT ONCOTARGET

This important study was able to be published, and noticed so quickly, because it was made available by Impact Journals’ free, open-access cancer research journal Oncotarget. Currently, over 20,000 Oncotarget papers are also searchable on PubMed, a widely used free search engine for life sciences and biomedical research. 

Because Oncotarget is open-access, it is free for everyone in the world to read. Most medical journals charge authors for publishing their work, and then in turn charge readers to access what could be all-important, life-saving information. With its revolutionary publishing model, Impact Journals, through publications like Oncotarget, makes it easy for anyone with important medical discoveries to communicate them to the public in the fastest and most effective way possible—possibly saving, prolonging, and improving many people’s lives in the process.

With the goal of a life without disease, Impact Journals allows scientists to share their exceptional discoveries, offers services that enable rapid dissemination of results, and presents vital findings from the many fields of biomedical science. It shares scientific findings through a comprehensive publication process entailing peer review, manuscript preparation, and publication promotion.

In addition, Oncotarget is well-known for publishing papers by Nobel Prize winners. The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Oncotarget Editorial Board members William G. Kaelin Jr., and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability,” which can help us understand and potentially treat a range of conditions like cancer, heart attack, stroke, and anemia. (They shared the Prize with UK physician-scientist Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe.) Both William G. Kaelin and Gregg L. Semenza are founding members of Oncotarget, where Gregg L. Semenza has published eight papers.

Another notable Oncotarget Nobel Prize winner is endocrinologist Andrew V. Schally, a member of Oncotarget’s Editorial Board who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 and who has published 12 papers in Oncotarget. Of Oncotarget’s work, he remarked: “Oncotarget is an outstanding and most important journal in the field of oncology and cancer research. Oncotarget is performing an extremely useful function for those of us working not only in cancer research, but also on other important topics in the field of medicine. Oncotarget deserves strong support from investigators working in the area of oncology as well as from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

If you would like to be first to learn about some of the most exciting new discoveries in medical science, consider investigating the groundbreaking work being published by Impact Journals, including its flagship publication, Oncotarget.