Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have tricked cancer cells into self- destructing by briefly disabling a cancer-causing gene. Although the gene revs back up after deactivation, the brief hiatus gives the affected cells a chance to alter their cancerous destiny. This work in mice could open new avenues for treating some human cancers, researchers believe.
Cancer usually results after a cell accumulates a handful of mutations in cancer-related genes called oncogenes or tumor-suppressor genes. Researchers had thought that cancer cells would side-step attempts to fix any single genetic change, especially after treatment ends. But in a study published in the July 5 issue of Science, researchers found that by briefly tinkering with only one mutant gene they could forever alter the course of the cancer.
"Nobody had ever seen that turning off a cancer gene for a few days caused irreversible change," said Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, assistant professor of oncology and lead researcher on the study. "Most people thought that cancer would come back once treatment that turned off an oncogene stopped."
Amy Adams | EurekAlert!
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
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