Rogue gene invades stem cells to spark cancer: study
Thursday 11 November 2010
A gene present in many forms of cancer is able to spark the disease by invading stem cells and encouraging abnormal growth, a study published Tuesday said.
Scientists took stem cells from an adult human mouth and injected them with higher than normal levels of the FOXM1 gene, which triggered a type of cell growth often seen in early-stage cancer cases.
Environmental and behavioral factors, such as exposure to ultraviolet rays and smoking, have been found to lead to increased levels of FOXM1.
The gene "exploits the inherent self-renewal property of stem cells," said the study by Muy-Teck Teh at the Institute of Dentistry at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
"By overexpressing FOXM1 in stem cells we found that it produces a condition similar to a precancerous hyperplasia," Teh told AFP.
The researchers used a 3D tissue culture model system to simulate human tissue growth in the laboratory without experimenting on actual humans, said the study which appears in the journal Cancer Research.
"What we found was that with the overexpression of FOXM1 in the stem cells we were able to increase the thickness of the tissue as compared to cells that were not overexpressing FOXM1," Teh said.
Previous studies using mice also showed that the same process triggered precancerous growths, Teh said.
"This is the first study using human cells to show it can induce hyperplasia," Teh said.
Scientists have known since 2002 that the FOXM1 gene was linked to cancer, after it was found present in skin cancer. Subsequent studies identified it to be an "upregulator," or a sort of encouraging agent in all types of human cancer.
"What the role of this gene was in human cancer was not quite clear," Teh said. "Why was it present in so many types of human cancer? These findings illustrate for the first time how the gene works."
No diagnostic tests currently exist to examine a person's level of FOXM1, but researchers hope that by understanding how the gene works in cancer creation they can begin to identify drugs to stop the disease at its earliest stages.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
NHS property sale could raise £7.5bn to help pay off its growing deficit and free up space for housing
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...