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Study of genomic DNA leads to new advances in cancer diagnostics

croenvironment surrounding the cell, influenced whether the cell's chromatin was sensitive or resistant to Alu I. The group also implicated the cell's cytoskeleton, the internal scaffolding that gives the cell its shape, in this process. Changes to the ECM and cytoskeleton are critical to migration of a cancer cell from one site in the body to another.

The researchers could alter the Alu I sensitivity of a cell's chromatin by exposing the cell to a single extracellular matrix molecule or by disrupting any of three cytoskeletal systems, which link the outside of the cell to the genome. Using this information, Dr. Maniotis's group developed a new kind of extracellular matrix chip (patent pending) that is being used to study drug-resistance mechanisms to develop new protocols and methods to treat cancer.

Ultimately, the cellular changes that occur during cancer formation affect how the cell interacts with its microenvironment (ECM) and direct changes to the cytoskeleton and finally to the chromatin. Such changes can now be measured directly at the chromatin level. These findings may provide the basis for the design of a new generation of cancer therapeutic agents.


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Contact: Sharon Butler
sbutler@uic.edu
312-355-2522
American Journal of Pathology
22-Mar-2005


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