UF Cancer Research
Common, edible mushroom has potential to kill one type of leukemia cell
The Coprinus comatus mushroom contains a protein that is a potent killer of a certain leukemia cell, a group of UF researchers has found. The mushroom, commonly known as the lawyer’s wig or shaggy mane, killed human T-cell leukemia cells during laboratory tests. Its potency and ability to selectively target leukemia cells makes it a promising candidate for cancer treatment. The findings provide a strategy for characterizing the functions of small proteins that are encoded in the mushroom’s genome and demonstrate specific interactions with diseased cells. More broadly, the research suggests that the shaggy mane and other mushrooms are an untapped source of drug discovery and development.
Immunotherapy treatment shows effectiveness against deadly brain tumor during early tests
UF Health researchers have found a way to target a molecule, known as CD70, found on the surface of glioblastoma tumors, that lets the tumor grow, migrate and evade the body’s immune system. The UF researchers discovered that a T cell, a type of white blood cell, can be extracted from a patient and genetically reprogrammed to recognize and attack glioblastoma tumors that feature CD70. Receptors on the T-cell’s surface bind to a specific protein on glioblastoma cells, a process called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T cell, therapy. After demonstrating that the CAR-T cells were able to kill their specific tumor targets in mouse and human cells, researchers found similar success using mouse models.
UF researchers identify gene variant to personalize therapy for deadly form of leukemia
Advancements in chemotherapy drugs have improved the survival rates for acute myeloid leukemia patients, but the cure rate for this disease is dismal — which is why cancer researchers are exploring genetics to identify new drug targets and therapies and to make smarter decisions using existing chemotherapy agents. UF Researchers recently found that genetic variation within patients with CD33 — a surface molecule that acts as a receptor for drug therapy on a leukemia cell — can predict the effectiveness of the antileukemic drug gemtuzumab ozogamicin, or GO. By identifying patients who are more likely to benefit from GO based on their genotype, means those treated with the drug may have a lower risk of relapse, which is a big step toward precision medicine.
Drug trio shows effectiveness against deadly type of breast cancer in mouse model
Triple-negative breast cancer cells lack crucial receptors that might otherwise allow hormonal and other treatments to work. Now, researchers say they have found a promising mix of compounds that significantly inhibits the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells in mice. The three compounds are forskolin, a compound derived from the Indian coleus plant that is used to treat high blood pressure; probenecid, a gout medication; and rolipram, a potential antidepressant that was discontinued in the 1990s because of gastrointestinal side effects at high doses. Tumor weights were reduced by about 80 percent in mice that received the drug cocktail for six weeks when compared with control mice, researchers found. Tumor development almost completely ceased three weeks after treatment began.
UF researchers identify novel genetic links between herpes virus and cancer
A dormant herpes virus uses its proteins and small RNAs to create genetic changes that can cause cancer in patients with AIDS and other immune deficiencies, a team of UF researchers has found. The virus, known as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus, is the
agent that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma and blood cancers. Kaposi’s sarcoma affects about 20,000 people in the United States and is the most common tumor among AIDS patients in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Knowing more about the genetic interactions between the herpes virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma is an important step in understanding how the virus contributes to tumor formation and ultimately in developing virus-specific cancer therapies.
UF Health researchers develop novel ring distortion strategy to fight diseases
A novel strategy developed by UF Health researchers has yielded several promising compounds to fight inflammation and diseases such as colorectal cancer. The novel ring distortion approach generates compounds that complement existing screening libraries that house many structurally simple compounds used to discover new drug therapies. By introducing dozens of complex small molecules developed from yohimbine, a drug which contains a complex ring system, and related natural products, UF researchers will add to the arsenal of compounds available to drug-makers today.
Higher air pollution exposure linked to denser breast tissue
Women who have higher exposure to fine particulate matter in the air are more likely to have dense breast tissue, a well-established strong risk factor for breast cancer, according to UF researchers. The team analyzed data collected from nearly 280,000 women age 40 and older who have no history of breast cancer and live in locations in the northeastern, southwestern and western United States. While more research is needed before establishing a causal relationship between air pollution and dense breasts, compounds in particulate matter have the potential to interfere with the normal functioning of the body’s endocrine system, according to researchers.