IU School of Medicine publishes research breakthroughs in two priority areas

Posted: Updated:

IU School of Medicine researchers recently made news with significant scientific breakthroughs in two of the school’s research priority areas: triple negative breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The discoveries clear the way for the potential development of targeted therapies to treat these devastating diseases.  

These breakthrough discoveries are the key first steps in developing targeted treatments for each of these diseases, where none have existed before. It is through scientific discoveries such as these that IU School of Medicine can lead the way towards developing precision approaches to treatment and prevention of such devastating diseases.

New promise for triple negative breast cancer treatment
Unlike the three most common forms of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer has no currently approved targeted therapies for treatment. Xiongbin Lu, PhD, an IU School of Medicine researcher in the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research and his collaborators recently reported in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology several important findings related to triple negative breast cancer and its treatment future.

According to the paper now available online, TP53 is the most frequently mutated gene in triple negative breast cancer, meaning it is fueling the growth of this aggressive form of breast cancer. However, the problem with trying to target mutated TP53, specifically, is that it is not a druggable target, because of its potential toxicity--or ability to kill--nearby healthy cells. The team went hunting for an alternative target and discovered POLR2A. Using nano-technology, the team developed a modified version of POLR2A in the form of a “nano-bomb” that they delivered into cancerous cells, which significantly reduced tumor growth and left the healthy cells intact. Learn more about the study.

Breakthrough in potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease and CTE
Equally significant findings related to Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) were reported in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature by an international team of scientists, including IU School of Medicine researchers Bernardino Ghetti, MD, and Ruben Vidal, PhD. Together with their UK colleagues, Ghetti and Vidal discovered that the pathologies of CTE and Alzheimer’s disease are not the same. Their discoveries, which have major implications for treatment, dispel the long-held belief that the diseases had the same pathology.

Using cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), the researchers examined tau tangles extracted from the brains of an American football player and two professional boxers, all recognized neuropathologically as having suffered from CTE. What they determined is that the fold of the abnormal tau protein in CTE is different from the tau fold in Alzheimer’s disease. This same research team discovered the Alzheimer’s disease tau fold in 2017, a discovery which was featured on the cover of Nature.

The research team’s most recent findings could potentially lead to new and targeted treatments for both Alzheimer’s disease and CTE. Learn more about the study.

These breakthrough discoveries help us advance new findings into clinical testing of potential diagnostics and medicines for patients.  Fundamental scientific insights into life threatening diseases will deepen collaborations between IU School of Medicine and other industry leaders like Roche and Lilly, and help fuel Indiana’s life sciences economy.

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, is Distinguished Professor and Associate Vice President of Research and Clinical Affairs for Indiana University; Director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute; leader of IU Precision Health Grand Challenge; and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for Clinical Research at IU Health.

  • Perspectives

    • Two Time-Sensitive Opportunities for Civic Action this Earth Month

      Hiking through a natural area with a reusable bottle of fresh, clean drinking water is likely an image that you can relate to during springtime in Indiana.  But neither achieving clean drinking water nor having easy access to nature happens spontaneously: It occurs because of decisions we make as families and as citizens.  As we enter the final stretch of Earth Month and the 2019 Indiana General Assembly, we have -- as citizens -- incredible and time-sensitive opportunities...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • U.S. Corrugated currently has operations in California, Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, New Jersey and Tijuana.

      Packager Planning $75M Lebanon Plant

      The Lebanon City Council has approved an incentive package for Pennsylvania-based U.S. Corrugated Inc. to bring an operation to the Boone County city. The corrugated packaging producer plans to invest about $75 million in the project, which would include about 140 new jobs. The Boone County Economic Development Corp. says the new positions are expected to pay a more than $20 per hour average wage. A spokesperson for the organization says the seven-year personal property abatement...

    • New Co-op Aims to Create 'Solar Movement'

      A group of Indianapolis residents has formed the first solar cooperative in the city. The Indiana chapter of nonprofit Solar United Neighbors will allow members to purchase and install solar panels using a single installer at a group rate. SUN Indiana Program Director Zach Schalk says the organization is focused on building a solar movement in Indiana by fighting for better solar policies. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Schalk said he hopes to expand the...

    • Jaylon Smith is on eof this year's honorees. (Photo courtesy of Jaylon Smith)

      Mad Anthonys Names 2019 Red Coat Recipients

      The Fort Wayne-based Mad Anthonys Foundation has named the 2019 Red Coat honorees. The organization presents the Red Coat each year to individuals who have made a positive impact to the Fort Wayne region and the state of Indiana. 

    • Photo of Gary City Hall courtesy of the City of Gary

      McDermott Details Gary Retail Desert

      The city of Gary is facing challenges as it tries to rejuvenate retail business in the city. In an interview with our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, Aaron McDermott, president of Latitude Commercial Real Estate Services in Schererville, says the challenge is due to the perception, proximity and demographics associated with Gary. 

    • I-65 INDOT construction map

      I-65 Work Beginning Next Week

      Construction work is scheduled to start next week on I-65 near downtown Indianapolis. Indiana Department of Transportation crews will begin to clean up the interstates after two years of freeze/thaw cycles. Crews will be working in segments, including patching and repaving work. INDOT crews will begin work on northbound and southbound in segments, beginning on weekend nights from April 26 through August.