Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Addicted' cells provide early cancer diagnosis

11.06.2008
Scientists at the Institute of Food Research have detected subtle changes that may make the bowel more vulnerable to the development of tumours.

With support from the Food Standards Agency and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council they are investigating whether diet could control these changes and delay or reverse the onset of cancer.

“We looked at changes in 18 genes that play a role in the very earliest stages of colorectal cancer,” says Professor Ian Johnson at the Institute of Food Research.

“We detected clear chemical differences in these genes in otherwise normal tissue in cancer patients.

... more about:
»DNA »epigenetic »tumour

“This represents a new way to identify defects that could eventually lead to cancer.”

All cells carry a complete set of instructions for the whole organism in their nuclear DNA, but to define the specialised structure and functions of each particular cell type, genes must be switched on or firmly off, over the course of the cell’s life-cycle.

One of the mechanisms controlling the activities of the genes in a cell is the “epigenetic code”, a set of chemical tags attached to the DNA molecule, marking individual genes for expression, or for silence. It is well known that the abnormal behaviour of cancer cells is partly due to mistakes in this epigenetic code, some of which switch on genes for growth, whilst others switch off genes that would otherwise cause abnormal cells to destroy themselves.

Scientists at IFR are exploring the possibility that such mistakes in the epigenetic code may begin to occur in apparently normal tissues, long before the appearance of a tumour.

In the current study published in the British Journal of Cancer they measured the numbers of methyl groups attached to DNA taken from the cells lining the large intestine of bowel cancer patients. They found subtle changes that may make the whole surface of the bowel more vulnerable to the eventual development of tumours by causing the ‘addiction’ of cells to abnormal gene expression.

Some of these changes seem to occur naturally with age, but, supported by the Food Standards Agency, IFR is investigating the possibility that factors in our lifestyle such as diet, obesity and exercise can accelerate or delay DNA methylation as we grow older, thus giving us some degree of control over this vital aspect of our long-term health.

Professor Nigel Brown, Director of Science and Technology at BBSRC said: “Basic research in the relatively young field of epigenetics is already contributing to our understanding of human health. Understanding how epigenetic processes work to maintain healthy cells and tissues is the key to long-term health because, as we see here, the breakdown of these normal processes may subsequently cause disease. BBSRC funds a range of research in the field of epigenetics and has been encouraging networking amongst members of the European epigenetics research community.”

Contacts

Zoe Dunford, Media Manager, Institute of Food Research
t: 01603 255111
m: 07768 164185
e: zoe.dunford@bbsrc.ac.uk
Andy Chapple, Press Office Assistant, Institute of Food Research
t: 01603 251490
m: 07785 766779
e: andrew.chapple@bbsrc.ac.uk

Zoe Dunford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk
http://www.bjcancer.com

Further reports about: DNA epigenetic tumour

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>