Nancy Jenkins, Ph.D., head of NCI's Molecular Genetics of Development, and Neal Copeland, Ph.D., head of the Molecular Genetics of Oncogenesis in the Mouse Cancer Genetics program, led the NCI research team, which investigated the use of a highly mobile Sleeping Beauty transposon system to study lymphomas, a cancer that strikes the immune system.
"Although our discovery was made in laboratory mice," said Jenkins, "we believe that the technology used will reveal new insights into human cancer and could be translated for clinical use. Hopefully, this discovery will speed up the development of new drugs and improve already-in-use drugs that target specific genes for treatment of various types of cancer, including lymphomas.
The outcome of the new Sleeping Beauty method could be a major leap forward in understanding cancer's weak points and thus lead to better treatments."
According to Largaespada, "About 300 human cancer-related genes have thus far been reported in the scientific literature. Most of those identified are involved in cancers of the blood system. So, there are likely to be many more cancer genes that still need to be identified."
Additionally, he noted that the Sleeping Beauty technology is capable of providing important information about the genes that current methods do not -- such as the specific combinations of mutant genes that can work together to cause cancer. "With this information, we will understand the development of tumors at the genetic level in much finer detail," he said. "This is impo
Source:NIH/National Cancer Institute