‘Brake gene’ turned off in pancreatic cancer, reveals study
Aggressive pancreatic tumours may be treatable with a new class of drugs, according to Cancer Research UK. Less than one in five people with this form of cancer are still alive a year after being diagnosed.
A study, published in the journal Nature, showed that a gene was being switched off in the cancerous cells, reports the BBC website.
The reseachers said drugs were already being tested which had the potential to turn the gene back on, to stop the spread of the cancer.Around 7,800 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year and it is the fifth most deadly cancer.
Studies in mice showed that a gene called USP9x, which normally stops a cell from dividing uncontrollably, is switched off in some pancreatic cancer cells.
The gene is not mutated, but other proteins and chemicals become stuck to it and turn the gene off.Studies then showed that UPS9x was being turned off in human pancreatic cancer.
Prof David Tuveson, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, said: "We suspected that the fault wasn't in the genetic code at all, but in the chemical tags on the surface of the DNA that switch genes on and off, and by running more lab tests we were able to confirm this.
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