A Stanford University lab whose studies have advanced scientific understanding of resistance and tolerance defense mechanisms to bacterial and viral pathogens has now turned its sights on cancer.
"Just as there are resistance and tolerance mechanisms that target invading microbes, we predicted that there are also resistance and tolerance mechanisms that control a host's response to cancer," David Schneider, Ph.D., who heads the lab, and postdoctoral researcher Adler R. Dillman, Ph.D., wrote in their GSA Drosophila Research Conference abstract.
While resistance refers to an organism's ability to rid itself of pathogens, tolerance describes the ability to limit disease severity.
To apply the concepts of resistance and disease tolerance to cancer, Drs. Schneinder and Dillman injected adult Drosophila melanogaster flies with varying doses of fly neoplastic cancer cells containing the Ras gene mutation, one of the most common gene mutations in human cancer. The results enabled the scientists to establish the dose response curve of the fly to the mutation.
They screened over 200 different RNA mediated interference (RNAi) lines targeting immune signaling pathways, metabolism and signal transduction. RNAi inhbits gene expression by triggering the destruction of messenger RNA (mRNA). This genetic screen is ongoing.
In addition to demonstrating that cancer kills flies in a dose dependent manner, just as bacteria and viruses cause infections in a dose dependent manner, Drs. Schneider and Dillman established a system for disentangling the resistance and tolerance mechanisms to cancer in the Drosophila model.
"Investigating Resistance and Tolerance to Cancer." Adler R. Dillman, David S. Schneider. Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford, Stanford, CA.
Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. The Society's more than 5,000 members worldwide work to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-‐sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms. GSA publishes two peer-‐reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. The society also has a deep commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit http://www.