The Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) hosts today, until May 29, an international meeting of experts to exchange ideas on the latest advances in the filed of aneuploidy—the loss or gain of chromosomes—and genomic instability, and their relationship to human disease such as cancer. The meeting is part of CNIO’s Frontiers Meeting: Chromosome Instability and Aneuploidy in Cancer.
The conference is being organised by CNIO researchers Marcos Malumbres, head of the Cellular Division and Cancer Group, and Ana Losada, head of the Chromosome Dynamics Group, together with Robert Benezra, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, as well as René Medema, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. The organisers have invited 16 world-renowned speakers from institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, in the US, or Cancer Research UK.
GENOMIC INSTABILITY, METABOLISM AND HETEROGENEITY IN TUMOURS
Amongst the invited scientists is Angelika Amon, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Amon will describe the metabolic changes observed in cells undergoing aneuploidy—necessary in order to make up for the higher energy requirement—, the removal of cellular residues that are the product of a higher metabolic rate, as well their applications in the development of new anti-cancer therapies.
Over the past few years, genomic studies in tumours have revealed that not all cells in a single tumour are the same. Charles Swanton, from Cancer Research UK, will speak on the mechanisms that generate genomic instability and cellular heterogeneity in colon cancer, and their association with poor prognosis of the disease and chemotherapeutic resistance.
Robert Benezra will talk about the distribution of genomic aneuploidy in 19,000 different tumours retrieved from the Mittelman Database at the National Cancer Institute in the US. He will also describe new animal models in which specific aneuploidies are induced in order to be able to study the consequences of each aneuploidy in metabolism and cancer.
DISORDER IN THE GENOME AS A CAUSE OF CANCER
Tumour cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled fashion, invading other tissues, avoiding their own suicide, or fooling the immune system to avoid being eliminated. They achieve all of this thanks to the manipulation of information contained in their genes, via mutations in their DNA and/or alterations in the number of genes and the structures that contain them, the chromosomes.
As Losada explains: “70% of tumours frequently display genomic aneuploidies, which are often turned into sources of genomic instability that tumour cells use to grow and expand”. The researcher adds that: “One example of this genetic material abnormality can be seen in cancers that have up to 50 copies of the same gene”.
“Theodor Boveri foresaw chaos in cancer genomes more than 100 years ago, although it was only 10 years ago that the field became part of front- line cancer research”, says Malumbres.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cnio.es/eventos/index.asp?ev=1