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

he 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.


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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

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