Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover why mutant gene causes colon cancer

10.09.2004


Discovery common to zebrafish and humans may lead to therapies that interrupt colon cancer development



Mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene have been found to cause 85 percent of colon cancers. Now researchers at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute know why. In a paper published on-line Sept. 9 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, they explain that APC controls the conversion of dietary vitamin A into retinoic acid. If this process is impaired, colon cancer can result.

"For a long time, scientists believed they knew what the APC gene did – that it regulated cell growth and division – but now we know we’ve been missing a big piece of the picture," reports David Jones, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and leader of HCI’s Colon Cancer Scientific Program. "What we didn’t know was that it converts vitamin A into retinoic acid, which is vital for normal colon cell development."


Jones’ lab had recently demonstrated that lack of retinoic acid, induced by mutating the APC gene, led to cancerous tumors in human colon cell lines. The new study blocked APC function in zebrafish and demonstrated that when the APC gene was blocked, the fish embryos lacked normal intestinal lining cells. When the embryos were treated with retinoic acid, normal cell development was restored. Because zebrafish and humans share many genes, including the APC gene, researchers often use the little black-and-white striped fish as models to study various aspects of human development.

"Implications of this study are far reaching," Jones says. "We have long suspected that vitamin A was helpful in preventing certain cancers, including colon cancer. With this new understanding, it may be possible to bypass a non-functioning APC gene by introducing retinoids as a form of chemoprevention, and thus control the undifferentiated and uncontrolled growth of colon cells that results in colon cancer."

Several years ago, University of Utah researchers identified the APC gene, as well as an inherited colon cancer predisposition known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) that occurs in people who have APC mutations. In this inherited syndrome, hundreds to thousands of pre-cancerous growths called adenomatous polyps form in the colon, usually beginning before a person is 16 years old. The lifetime risk for people with this inherited mutation is 100 percent. Scientists have since determined that an acquired mutation of the APC gene is also found in 85 percent of sporadic colon cancer. Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer in the United States.

Jill Woods | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hci.utah.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>