Using a new approach for dissecting the complicated interactions among many genes, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered how a common cancer gene works in tandem with another gene to spur the unchecked growth of cells. The researchers say the technique was so useful in solving a longstanding puzzle that it may expedite the discovery of other such gene interactions that lead to cancer, and could accelerate the development of new cancer drugs.
The report in the Aug. 8 issue of Cell describes how the method was used in identifying what additional genes are affected by the common oncogene, cyclin D1, when it makes too much of its normal protein. By combining two types of data and applying a powerful statistical tool, the researchers pinpointed an unsuspected gene, C/EBP-beta, as a key mediator of cyclin D1 action.
Justin Lamb, PhD, a molecular biologist at Dana-Farber and lead author of the report, said the previous experimental efforts had failed to identify genetic accomplices of cyclin D1 in triggering cancer. "We didnt know what cyclin D1 was interacting with," said Lamb.
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