An approach to treating intestine cancer is being developed by Russian researchers from the Bioengineering Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, under Anna Prokhorchuk’s guidance jointly with American colleagues sponsored by the international CRDF foundation and the Federal Agency for Science and Innovation (Rosnauka).
Any cancerous disease changes the genetic landscape – some genes are suppressed, others get activated, which results in tumour growth, the formation of metastases, and cancer spreads beyond immune system control. The universal mechanism which regulates genes’ activity is DNA methylation, where a methyl group is joined to a certain section of a molecule. Special methyl-DNA binding proteins come into action, bound with a section of the methylated DNA and this suppresses gene activity. The researchers are interested in one of such proteins named Kaiso. They assume that this protein plays an important role in the intestine cancer development, and it can be used for diagnostics and treatment.
First, the researchers measured the level of expression of the Kaiso protein gene in intestinal tumours in mice and in human patients. The level of expression turned out to be dozens of times higher than that in healthy organs and tissues. ‘Kaiso-zero’ mice were then used which were found to be resistant to cancer. The same resistance to cancer was acquired by mice whose DNA methylation had been suppressed by other methods.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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