Research gets to root of cancer gene

Posted: July 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Research gets to root of cancer gene

By Fiachra Cionnaith

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A joint Irish Cancer Society and University College Cork team has found a way to show how a critical cancer-causing gene found in acute myeloid leukemia can survive in the body meaning a cure is one step closer to reality.

This specific type of cancer, which is diagnosed in 80 Irish children and adults a year, starts inside the bone marrow and grows from cells that in a healthy body turn into white blood cells.

When this occurs, the bone marrow stops to work properly, making sufferers more prone to infection and other serious illnesses.

A long-term study led by UCC Professor of Biochemistry Thomas Cotter and ICS research scholar Joanna Stanicka has found this cancer survives in the body by generating reactive oxygen molecules.

This then allows a tumour to grow in "an uncontrolled and aggressive manner".

The study findings were presented for the first time over the weekend at an international cancer fatalities conference in Singapore, and will be published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE on July 13.

Linked research by Prof Cotter in the 1990s focussed on how the same cancer-causing gene can block the "suicide gene" defence mechanism the body uses to kill off malfunctioning cells.

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Research gets to root of cancer gene

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