New Compound Demonstrates Impressive Chemopreventive Potential
A new study reports exciting findings about a compound that may have significant potential as a chemopreventive agent for a number of different cancers. The compound, CDDO-Imidazolide (Im), prevented the development of precancerous lesions in the livers of rats exposed to aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin that can cause liver cancer in humans. The study was published in the February 15 Cancer Research.
The compound was extremely effective, even at very low doses, says the study's senior author, Dr. Thomas Kensler, a cancer biologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The results, he continues, are the first proof of principle that triterpenoids, the class of compounds to which CDDO-Im belongs, work as chemopreventive agents and do so by activating a signaling pathway regulated by the transcription factor Nrf2.In previously published studies, a group at Dartmouth Medical School led by Drs. Michael Sporn and Karen Liby, together with Hopkins scientists, showed that triterpenoids activated Nrf2 in cell culture. This transcription factor regulates the activity of a number of so-called phase 2 genes; these genes help protect the body from toxins by producing enzymes that disarm toxic molecules. Read more
Guest Update by Dr. John E. Niederhuber
Multiple PIs Will Promote Team Science
Conducting biomedical research has become a remarkably complex undertaking. Today, cancer researchers are asking highly sophisticated questions and proposing multifaceted scientific initiatives that require expertise from many individuals - individuals coming from quite different scientific backgrounds. These collective approaches, often using advanced technology platforms and intricate analytical tools, are allowing researchers the ability to apply a systems approach to the study of diseases such as cancer. Both the complexity of the research and the sophistication of the technology require a team approach.
As a result, cancer research has increasingly become a multidisciplinary effort led by a team of expert scientists. These days it is not atypical to have several expert principal investigators (PIs) come together, bringing varied areas of expertise such as high-volume microsequencing, protein chemistry, crystallography, and the application of mass spectroscopy and molecular immunology to bear on the question at hand - talents no longer possible in a single individual. Read more