Particular gene links unusual cancers

Canadian researchers have exposed that a ordinary gene links a number of rare reproductive cancers, a finding that could guide to new approach for treatment.

Ovarian, uterine and testicular cancer were all establish to have the same change in a gene called DICER, said the research in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists have documented about DICER for many years, but its precise role in sparking tumor cells to grow has been unclear.

When the gene mutate, DICER’s function is distorted “so that it participates directly in the initiation of cancer, but not in a characteristic ‘on-off’ fashion,” said co-author Gregg Morin, a lead scientist from the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the British Columbia Cancer Agency.

“DICER can be viewed as the conductor for an orchestra of function critical for the growth and behavior of normal cells,” explained co-author Gregg Morin, a lead scientist from the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the British Columbia Cancer Agency.”The mutation we discovered does not totally destroy the purpose of DICER, rather they warp it — the orchestra is still there but the conductor is drunk.”

Researchers are investigative whether DICER plays a role in other cancers, and will investigate if mutant DICER can be manipulated to treat the cancers it causes. Ovarian cancer kill about 15,000 women in the United States each year, and about 22,000 new cases are diagnose yearly.

More than 46,000 cases of uterine cancer and 8,100 deaths arise each year in the United States. Testicular cancer is rarer, with 8,300 new cases per year and 350 US deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.”This get through will be of attention to both the clinical and the fundamental science communities,” said Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of the structure of genes.

“Huntsman, Morin and colleague’s very thrilling discovery of specific mutations in DICER, a factor essential for synthesis of small regulatory RNAs in ovarian and other human tumors, could guide to new approaches to treatment.”

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