A new cancer gene has been discovered by a research group at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The gene causes an insidious form of glandular cancer usually in the head and neck and in women also in the breast. The discovery could lead to quicker and better diagnosis and more effective treatment.
The study is published today in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The cancer caused by this new cancer gene is called adenoid cystic carcinoma and is a slow-growing but deadly form of cancer. The research group can now show that the gene is found in 100% of these tumours, which means that a genetic test can easily be used to make a correct diagnosis.
"Now that we know what the cancer is down to, we can also develop new and more effective treatments for this often highly malignant and insidious form of cancer," says professor Göran Stenman, who heads the research group at the Lundberg Laboratory for Cancer Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy. "One possibility might be to develop a drug that quite simply turns off this gene."
The newly discovered cancer gene is what is known as a fusion gene, created when two healthy genes join together as a result of a chromosome change.
"Previously it was thought that fusion genes pretty much only caused leukaemia, but our group can now show that this type of cancer gene is also common in glandular cancer," says Stenman.
One of the two genes that form the fusion gene is known as MYB. Among other things, this gene controls cell growth and makes sure that the body gets rid of cells that are no longer needed. It has long been known to be a highly potent cancer gene in animals, but for a long time there was no evidence of the gene being involved in the development of tumours in humans.
"We suggested back in 1986 that the MYB gene might be involved in this form of cancer, but it's only recently that we've had access to the tools needed to prove it," says Stenman.
The research group has also looked at the mechanism behind the transformation of the normal MYB gene into a cancer gene. Genes can be compared to blueprints for proteins. Carefully controlled regulating systems then determine when and how much of each protein is formed. One such regulating system, discovered recently, is microRNA, which can turn genes on and off. When this cancer gene forms, this important control system is put out of action, leading to activation of the gene and massive overproduction of an abnormal MYB protein with carcinogenic properties.
"This is an important discovery, because it's a new mechanism which I think will turn out to be quite common in a variety of human cancers," says Stenman.
The study was conducted with support from the Swedish Cancer Society and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, among others.For more information, please contact:
Authors: Marta Persson, Ywonne Andrén, Joachim Mark, Hugo M. Horlings, Fredrik Persson, Göran StenmanElin Lindström Claessen
Helena Aaberg | idw
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy