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Study proposes new ovarian cancer targets
Date:3/13/2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] In the complex genomic and molecular conspiracy that gives rise to ovarian cancer, what if researchers have been missing a whole set of suspects because they've been hiding in plain sight? That's the argument made by Brown University biologists in a new paper that combines evidence from original research and prior studies to raise new suspicions about a set of proteins that assist in regulating gene expression.

Scientists need such new leads in their investigation of ovarian cancer, the most deadly reproductive cancer. Mortality has remained tragically steady since the last major therapeutic breakthrough came in the 1990s. Pursuing the evidence that these proteins may be involved could allow researchers to make new progress.

"There is just not a lot of headway being made in ovarian cancer," said pathobiology graduate student Jennifer Ribeiro, lead author of the study online in Frontiers in Oncology. "This is a different perspective. It's a high-risk but potentially high-reward scenario."

Ribeiro's proteins of interest are called TAFs. Traditionally biologists have seen them merely as cogs in a universal and generic system that enables enzymes to transcribe genes into RNA, said study senior author Richard Freiman, associate professor of medical science at Brown. But in the new paper he and Ribeiro propose that TAFs may not merely be going about their droning business as ovarian tumors go haywire. They may be meaningfully associated with the calamity.

Guilt by many associations?

An early hint of a link between TAFs and ovarian cancer emerged in a 2011 Nature paper, coauthored by Brown University computer science researchers. Ribeiro followed up on that tip to make some of her main original findings in the new paper. By poring over the cBioPortal database of cancer genomics, she found that several TAFs are often significantly overexpressed or underexpressed i
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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