Rogue gene invades stem cells to spark cancer: study

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.

ksh/mac

 

News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news

Video: It is the type of thing no parent wants to hear

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Langley James : Field Support Engineer; Dynamics, SQL; Manchester, £33k+Car

    £33000 - £36000 per annum + Car+Laptop+Phone: Langley James : Field Support En...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planning MRP Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's most progressive and innovativ...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Sales Executives

    £19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to our clients continuing s...

    Recruitment Genius: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

    £15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game