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New approach to cancer: Find most tightly controlled genes
Date:7/17/2008

the PGC genes as an exciting new class of genes, in which you would only need to slightly affect gene function to elicit a sizeable effect on the tumor," Tan said. "This would make the PGC genes attractive targets."

For example, a treatment targeting a PGC gene might only need to inhibit protein activity by 10-20 percent in order to gain the desired effect. This contrasts with other genes, where a near-complete inhibition (90-100 percent) might be required before effects on tumors are seen.

The scientists studied what happens with some of these genes in the PGC by comparing different samples of tumor tissue that were known to be more or less metastatic (able to spread to other places in the body). They found that the PGC expression was subtly yet significantly lower in highly metastatic cells.

Their analysis also found that the PGC genes were not tightly regulated in several data sets taken from noncancerous tissue. This provided more evidence that the PGC genes are regulated specifically in cancerous tissue. "Our findings suggest that small changes in PGC expression in tumors may be linked with potent differences in a tumor's ability to spread or be invasive," Tan said.

"Beyond cancer, we could easily apply this approach to other diseases," Tan said. "With the right data, researchers could find genes related strictly to disease progression and explore how they can be manipulated to our benefit."


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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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