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Genetic pathway can slow spread of ovarian cancer
Date:6/17/2014

University of Adelaide research into the origins of ovarian cancer has led to the discovery of a genetic pathway that could slow the spread of the cancer.

The discovery is in part due to research into the genetics of humans' most distant mammalian relative, the platypus.

In a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers characterize a genetic pathway involving piRNA genes that is turned on in ovarian cancer.

"This pathway is important for the development of the ovaries in drosophila flies but little is known about its role in the mammalian ovary," says lead author Associate Professor Frank Grtzner, Genetics Lecturer and ARC Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute and the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science.

"We previously found that these genes are active in cells supporting oocyte (egg cell) development in platypus, mice and humans, just like in flies.

"We then decided to look into ovarian cancer and discovered that expression of these genes is turned up in this disease. We expected that these genes would promote the spreading of cancer cells but when we switched them on in ovarian cancer cell lines in the laboratory we observed the contrary, a suppression of spread.

"This result was very surprising, and we therefore looked back at the cancers and found that many RNAs, produced from one of the genes, are faulty," Associate Professor Grtzner says. "There have been previous studies in other cancers that have shown these genes actually increase growth and spread of cancer. We are only beg
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Contact: Associate Professor Frank Grützner, University of Adelaide
frank.grutzner@adelaide.edu.au
61-883-134-812
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

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