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

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."


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

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