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Cold Spring Harbor science teams identify 13 new tumor-suppressor genes in liver cancer
Date:11/18/2008

Over the years, hunting for cancer-related genes and understanding how they work has been an important, although time-consuming, exercise. At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), five different research groups have now combined their expertise to speed up the rate of discovering cancer-related genes and validating their function in living animals.

The result of the collaborative effort is a large-scale, rapid, cost-effective genetic screen that in a preliminary test succeeded in uncovering 13 new tumor suppressors genes that inhibit the activity of cancer genes. Tumor suppressors are important in cancer development generally, and specifically in liver cancer, where they frequently have been found to be missing in people who develop the illness.

These discoveries, published online ahead of print on Nov.17 and scheduled to appear in the November 26 issue of Cell, "are a huge step forward in understanding the genetics of cancer and open up a host of new strategies to improve its diagnosis and treatment," according to CSHL Professor Scott W. Lowe, Ph.D., the corresponding author of the study. Other authors include Scott Powers, Ph.D., Director of the Human Cancer Genome Center at CSHL, and CSHL Professors Gregory J. Hannon, Ph.D., W. Richard McCombie, Ph.D., and Michael Wigler, Ph.D.

Pinpointing Tumor Suppressor Genes

Tumor suppressors are a crucial component of intracellular signaling networks that protect against uncontrolled cell proliferation. The benefits of such genes can be lost when DNA undergoes alterations, including mutations or deletions of entire stretches of chromosomes. A highly efficient genome-sequencing technique developed several years ago in the Wigler laboratory has made it possible to scan the genome of cancerous cells for, among other things, deleted portions of chromosomes where tumor suppressors are likely to reside.

Dr. Powers performed a genomic analysis of human liver can
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Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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