Researchers have located a gene dubbed dead end that when mutated or lost, causes testicular tumors in mice. They say their study, published in the online journal Nature, on May 18, 2005 will likely offer future insights into the genetic causes of the disease in humans because the cancer originates from the same cell type, the primordial germ cell, in both mice and men.
If that notion is validated through further research, the finding could lead to a way to either screen for the human disease or treat it, say the researchers, who represent The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Duke University Medical Center, the National Cancer Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
"One can envision that this gene or others in its pathway could possibly be used for screening or therapeutic purposes in young males predisposed to develop testicular cancer or those who have a family history of this disease," says the lead investigator, Angabin Matin, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at M. D. Anderson. "This will of course require further research regarding the function of this gene in human cancers."
Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
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