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Some muscular dystrophy patients at increased risk for cancer
Date:12/13/2011

or Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center, one of six research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Over the last 15 years, Moxley's colleague, Charles Thornton, M.D., has discovered how the genetic flaw at the root of myotonic muscular dystrophy a genetic repeat, a kind of molecular stutter actually causes the disease. He found that the flaw causes extra messenger RNA to accumulate in the nucleus of cells, making it difficult for a protein crucial for normal muscle growth to do its job.

Moxley notes that the genetic miscue that causes the disease is one that might also make cancer more likely to occur. The investigators say it's possible that the extra RNA may also hinder proteins involved in repairing DNA; a malfunction of DNA repair machinery is one way that cancer comes about. In addition, they note that the product made by the faulty gene is a close molecular relative of several cancer susceptibility genes.

The scientists say much more study is needed to understand the process. They plan to study the issue in more depth using a muscular dystrophy registry which includes about 1,600 patients with muscular dystrophy that has been compiled by Moxley and colleagues at Rochester, thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health.


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Contact: Tom Rickey
tom_rickey@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-7954
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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