Navigation Links
Researchers identify cancer-causing gene in many colon cancers
Date:9/14/2008

BOSTON--Demonstrating that despite the large number of cancer-causing genes already identified, many more remain to be found, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have linked a previously unsuspected gene, CDK8, to colon cancer.

The discovery of CDK8's role in cancer was made possible by new tools for assessing the activity of specific genes, say the authors of the new study. As these tools are further improved, the stream of newly discovered cancer genes is expected to increase, providing new avenues for therapy, the authors suggest. The findings are being published as an advanced online publication by the journal Nature on Sept. 14.

"This study provides confirmation that many of the genes involved in cancer have yet to be identified," remarked the study's senior author, William Hahn, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T. "When it comes to identifying gene targets for therapy, we've really only scratched the surface."

The study is noteworthy in another respect, as well, the authors indicated. Many of the abnormal proteins linked to cancer are known as "transcription factors" because they're able to "read" cell DNA and use that information for producing other cell proteins. Although transcription factors are important regulators, this class of proteins has proven to be impossible to target with drugs. Genes that influence such transcription factors, however, make attractive targets for drugs, since they can potentially disrupt the cancer process and disable tumor cells. CDK8 is such a gene.

The new study began with a focus on a protein called beta-catenin, a transcription factor that is overactive in nearly all colorectal cancers. Although overactive beta-catenin plays a role in the initial formation of tumors, other genetic abnormalities must occur for tumors to become fully malignant.

To determine which genes control the production of beta-catenin and are involved in the proliferation of colon cancer cells, the research team ran three screening tests. In the first two, they used RNA interference to shut down more than a thousand genes one by one and recorded the instances where beta-catenin activity decreased and the cells stopped growing. They then analyzed colon cancers for genes that had extra copies. When they examined where the results of the three tests overlapped, one gene stood out -- CDK8, explained Hahn, who is also an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

The protein produced from CDK8 is part of the "mediator complex," a conglomeration of proteins that serves as a bridge for compounds involved in gene transcription. "This study demonstrates that blocking CDK8 interferes with the proliferation of colon cancer cells that have high levels of the CDK8 protein and overactive beta-catenin," Hahn said. "Drugs that target CDK8 may be very useful against tumors whose growth is driven by beta-catenin."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bill Schaller
william_schaller@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-5357
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
2. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
3. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
4. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
8. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
9. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
10. UIC researchers find promising new targets for antibiotics
11. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... service provider, today announced a global partnership that ... convenient way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... Mobility is a key innovation area for financial services, but ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June 23, 2016 ... the trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones ... the S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ... BIND Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Cell Applications, ... allow them to produce up to one billion ... lot within one week. These high-quality, consistent stem ... preparing cells and spend more time doing meaningful, ... a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that produces affordable, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: