Research paper on blood cancer hailed as one of the best published in 2011

Research on how enzymes regulate the progress of a blood cancer wins recognition.

Sanderson_storyA research paper on multiple myeloma from the laboratory of Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Pathology and co-leader of the cancer cell biology program in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been selected as one of the best research papers of the year 2011 published by Journal of Biological Chemistry, a leading international biomedical research journal. Vishnu Ramani, Ph.D., a research associate in Sanderson’s laboratory, and Yang Yang, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, also are lead authors of this study.

The paper titled “Heparanase Plays a Dual Role in Driving Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) Signaling by Enhancing HGF Expression and Activity” was published in the Feb. 25, 2011, issue. From among more than 4,000 papers it published this past year, editors of the journal selected Sanderson’s as the best in the field of glycobiology and extracellular matrix. The paper also had been selected Paper of the Week, a distinction reserved for the top 1 percent of papers reviewed in terms of significance and overall importance by JBC.

Research from Sanderson’s lab has demonstrated that the enzyme heparanase acts as a master regulator that drives progression of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood. The research reveals that heparanase enhances the production and activity of hepatocyte growth factor, a highly abundant molecule in multiple myeloma that aids in tumor growth and metastasis, and identifies heparanase as an important target for myeloma therapy. Sanderson’s lab is developing and testing novel inhibitors for use in the treatment of myeloma and other cancers.