Navigation Links
Scientists discover cause of rare skin cancer that heals itself
Date:3/10/2011

Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) scientists under the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore are part of an international team of researchers [1]who became the first in the world to discover the gene behind a rare skin cancer which grows rapidly for a few weeks before healing spontaneously, according to research published in Nature Genetics [2] today.

The peculiar behaviour of this rare self-healing cancer, called multiple self-healing squamous epithelioma (MSSE), was discovered to be caused by a failure in the gene called TGFBR1, which is a key component of a signalling pathway that can also be impaired in other cancers. This pathway is widely regarded in the field as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in cancer treatment.

Dr David Goudie, a Clinical Genetics consultant at Dundee University and a long term specialist in MSSE, said: "The unusual behaviour of this tumour has baffled scientists for over 40 years, so we're excited to have discovered the genetic faults that cause the disease. Understanding how tumours that lack TGFBR1 behave will surely help us to predict the clinical effects of drugs that target these cancer-promoting or cancer-inhibiting signals."

Said Professor Birgit Lane, the team leader and Executive Director of IMB, "We started working on this in Dundee nearly 10 years ago, but it was not until we were able to apply new approaches to the problem, through the links we have developed in Singapore, that we were together able to identify the cause of the disease."

However, Professor Birgit Lane cautioned, "The TGFBR1 gene is also part of a very important cell signalling system that is essential for many normal processes. Though it has been implicated in many other cancers before now, one cannot just go around blocking its function indiscriminately. We hope that this new found knowledge on an unusual self-healing tumour will open a door to new ways of tweaking the cell machinery more selectively in cancer therapy."

About TGFBR1 and MSSE

The TGFBR1 (Transforming Growth Factor (Beta), Receptor 1) gene makes a receptor protein through which healthy cells receive messages from their neighbours, instructing them to carry out processes essential to normal growth and development. Normally, TGFBR1 messages help block the growth of early tumours of various types. But cancer cells can interpret these messages very differently. For cancers that have managed to start growing, TGFBR1 actually promotes their growth and spread instead.

Interestingly, the reverse happens in the self-healing tumours that have an inherited fault in the TGFBR1 gene. MSSE patients with faulty TGFBR1 develop lots of small tumours but at some point there is a switch in behaviour and the tumours lacking TGFBR1 start to shrink and heal by themselves. Scientists do not yet fully understand how this happens but the result of this study has raised new approaches to studying this important signalling system and its relation to cancer.

MSSE is an extremely rare disease, with only a handful of new cases diagnosed each year. International translational collaborations between doctors and scientists, like the one underlying this study, are critical to allow for scientific breakthroughs to be made that could lead to possible cancer therapy.


'/>"/>

Contact: Chang Kai Chen
chang_kai_chen@a-star.edu.sg
656-826-6442
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. USDA and Russian scientists develop high-tech crop map
2. Now, the story can be told - how scientists helped ID Amerithrax
3. Rockefeller Scientists discover new compound that rids cells of Alzheimer protein debris
4. Scripps Research scientists develop new test for pluripotent stem cells
5. Scripps Research scientists create cell assembly line
6. Scientists identify susceptibility factor for bipolar disorder
7. Scientists study control of invasive tree in western US
8. Flood-tolerant rice plants can also survive drought, say UC Riverside scientists
9. For first time, scientists show an HIV vaccine impacts the genetic makeup of the virus
10. Scientists discover genetic switch that increases muscle blood supply
11. Signaling path in brain may prevent that Im full message, UT Southwestern scientists discover
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... 2021" report to their offering. ... ... by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at a ... of the bioinformatics market is driven by the growing demand for ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... 14, 2016  Based on its recent ... & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics with the ... Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics emerged as ... market by pioneering In Motion Identification (IMID) ... seamless, and non-invasive verification. This patented solution ...
(Date:6/22/2016)...  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest ... in Las Vegas . ... in each of the following categories: net square feet of ... attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... part of the Almac Group, the world’s largest privately-held contract pharmaceutical development ... with inVentiv Health, a leading biopharma outsourcing company combining a leading CRO ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that could allow our bodies to ... And searching for keys to our immune systems by studying parasite-resistant fish. These are ... Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... platforms, announced today that the company has engaged in a collaborative research partnership ... (MRDA) with the CSU Office of the Vice President for Research. This agreement ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , December 6, 2016 According to a ... Microneedle), Material (Polymer, Glass, Silicon), Application (Genomics, Proteomics, Capillary Electrophoresis, POC, ... MarketsandMarkets, the global market is projected to reach USD 8.78 Billion ... of 19.2% during the forecast period (2016 to 2021). ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: