With another year drawing to a close, we reflect on what the past 12 months have brought to the GMRI and the people we aim to help. We’ve made some exciting discoveries and shared them with scientists and specialists around the world. We’ve had some talented people join our team, and we’re waiting for our new Principal Investigator to arrive. Underscoring these activities is the generous support of our many donors, whose dedication and generosity allow us to keep pushing the boundaries. We couldn’t be more grateful to you all.
Authors: Hugo Humphries, Helen D. Brasch, Bede van Schaijik, Swee T. Tan, Tinte Itinteang
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2019). Volume 144(2) pp 372 – 384. Doi:10.1097/PRS.0000000000005867.
Keloid disorders are characterised by abundant scar tissue resulting from excessive collagen deposition in the skin, being 15 times more common in dark-skinned people. They appear to be genetically inherited and are associated with wound repair but, unlike hypertrophic scars, which are confined to the area around the wound, keloid lesions extend beyond it.
The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute has now demonstrated that the renin-angiotensin system is present in keloid lesions and in the stem cells of the lesion. This raises the possibility of inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system, classically associated with cardiovascular homeostasis and electrolyte balance, being potential treatments.
These results provides support and a possible mechanism for the recent observation that enalapril, an ACE inhibitor, and so connected to the renin-angiotensin system, is efficacious in treating keloid disorder.
Authors: Reuben Cane, Andrew Kennedy-Smith, Helen D. Brasch, Stephanie Savage, Reginald W. Marsh, Tinte Itinteang, Swee T. Tan
Journal of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (2019) Volume 5, pp6 – 17. https://www.ommegaonline.org/articles/publishimages/16710-JSRB-19-RA-2462.pdf
Renal cell carcinoma is the ninth most common cancer, with renal clear cell carcinoma comprising up to 85% of renal cell carcinomas. Obesity, smoking and high blood pressure are well-established risk factors for these cancers.
Surgery is the conventional treatment although there is still a 40% recurrence rate. 30% eventually develop metastases. Advanced disease can be treated with drugs. The five-year survival rate is only 10%.
The GMRI and collaborators have proposed that tumour development and proliferation is driven by cancer stem cells that possess self-renewal and pluripotent properties and are responsible for metastasis and recurrence. Our research has demonstrated that many types of cancer express cancer stem cells.
This study concludes that there are at least two types of cancer stem cells in renal clear cell carcinoma, each expressing several common constituents with some constituents that are unique to a specific population. There is evidence that one of these populations is more mature than the other.
Therefore it has now been demonstrated that this most common type of kidney cancer has cancer stem cells similarly to many other cancers. The implication is that the GMRI’s novel cancer treatment approach may be efficacious.
The GMRI has just published a review article in Frontiers in Oncology following an invitation to submit an article to the special issue on ‘Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem-Like Cells – The Current State of the Art
The article describes the links between cancer stem cells and the renin-angiotensin system, which controls blood pressure and fluid balance, and outlines the evidence that suggests targeting this system might target cancer stem cells.
Lead author Dr Imogen Roth explains in the article, titled ‘Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells via Modulation of the Renin-Angiotensin System’, how the renin-angiotensin system also appears to have a role in stem cell differentiation, and suggests that the renin-angiotensin system might also have a role in cancer stem cell maintenance.
To support this, Dr Roth outlines numerous studies which have shown that the renin-angiotensin system is elevated in cancer, and how common anti-hypertensive medications which target the renin-angiotensin system have been shown to prevent or reduce the development of cancer.
As such, it appears that the roles of the renin-angiotensin system in both stem cell maintenance and tumour development may converge on cancer stem cells, making targeting the renin-angiotensin system a potential cancer therapy.
The article can be viewed at https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2