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Indian American's Contribution in Cancer Gene Discovery

An Indian American is part of a team of scientists who have achieved a major breakthrough in the discovery of a gene that suppresses the growth of cancer// tumors in humans.

Anindya Bagchi, along with a group of scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a private research institute in Long Island, New York, have successfully identified a gene, which if faulty allows human cells to misbehave and tumors to form.

The research headed by professor Alea Mills of CSHL identified the new gene as CHD5 and it is located on chromosome 1, and is technically known as a tumor suppressor.

"I first met Anindya at a meeting in the U.K. Anindya and I talked at length about things we might learn by altering chromosomes - the technology was amazing. Even though Anindya was only a student at the time, it was clear that this was a guy with guts - just the type of person that I wanted as part of my research team," Mills told India West, an ethnic Indian magazine.

For years, scientists across the globe knew that many cancers have a signature genetic anomaly - a section of one chromosome is missing. Specifically, a region called 1p36 is often deleted. This caused scientists to believe that this section of the chromosome contained an important gene, that when lost, leads to cancer.

"There had been a very important question in cancer biology that whether there is a gene out there that might be regulating or preventing us from having cancer," Bagchi said.

"There are multiple genes out there in that region (of the chromosome) and people tried to map which is the particular gene that might be responsible for preventing this multiple kind of cancer because many of the patients, when they lose this chunk of DNA containing multiple genes, they are predisposed to cancer," he added.

Cancer experts have hailed the latest breakthrough.


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