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Colon Cancer – DNA gets ‘switched off’ and allows Tumor Growth

April 24th, 2006

Colon Cancer – DNA gets ‘switched off’ and allows Tumor Growth

DNA

Researchers from Sydney’s Garvan Institute along with a collaborative effort with Spanish scientists have led to new understanding how cancer cells take over and tumors grow.  They discovered in the process of colon cancer that large areas of DNA are turned off allowing for the growth of tumors.  The study was first reported in the Nature Genetics, April 23rd edition.

The lead researcher Sue Clark, who is an Associate Professor at the Garvan Institute said, "These large regions – referred to as suburbs – contain genes that normally function to prevent the development of tumours."

 

Cancer takes over when normal controlling mechanisms within a cell malfunction.  Cells are told when to grow and when to die.  The researchers believe that the regulations of the cell activities are changed by DNA damage.  The DNA will become changed and large section of the chromosomes will be removed.  There is also a possibility that the cancer can also cause gene silencing to occur.  This silencing is called ‘epigenetics’.

DNA methylation is one of the epigenetics that can cause cancer cells to grow.  The process causes gene silencing.  In the past it was believed to silence only on gene, however the researchers discovered that more genes can be affected.

 

"What we've found is that non-methylated genes that reside in a particular suburb near methylated genes are also silenced. Their physical proximity to the methylated genes affects their ability to function. It's a case of being in the wrong neighbourhood at the wrong time,” said Clark.

The way the researchers discovered the multiple gene silencing was with a new method to scan over 30,000 genes with one cancer tissue sample.  This made it possible to see the multiple instances of gene silencing that was happening with colon cancer.

 

The researchers want to measure other types of cancer to see if there is a correlation with gene silencing.  By understanding the method of how cancer cells take over to grow tumors may lead to new treatments in the near future that will put a halt to cancer cells and could lead to a cure.

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Best Syndication

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM