Finally, after ages of research, scientists have discovered genes that are responsible for stopping cancer. These genes were able to stop tumor production in mice. This might lead to future treatment for cancer. The research was published in Nature Journal.
The tumor suppressor gene known as PTEN was identified that was able to prevent breast, skin, and prostate cancer.
Researchers claim that this discovery may help to treat cancer and help identify other genes that can suppress cancer growth.
It was found out that patients with prostate cancer had an altered or missing PTEN gene, as do many other cancers that include brain tumors and endometrial cancers.
In a healthy human, this gene helps in preventing cancer and regulates cell growth. But little is known about what pathways does this gene cooperate with for preventing tumor formation.
Scientists have designed a new method in mice in which part of the PTEN gene was converted into a transposon that is a form of DNA. Scientists have developed a method that includes mobilization of transposon that inactivates the PTEN, where they were able to pinpoint the genes which cooperate with PTEN in suppressing tumors.
They have analyzed 278 prostate, breast, and skin tumors from the mice and revealed hundreds of genes that could cooperate with PTEN and act as tumor suppressor genes.
Human cell lines and data from human prostate tumors were then used to study the five most promising genes.
Dr. Juan Cadiñanos, a joint lead author from the Instituto de Medicina Oncologica y Molecular de Asturias, in Spain, said that “This is the first study to look specifically for tumor suppressor genes that cooperate with PTEN in a range of cancer types.
“We found that genetically inactivating PTEN and each of the five candidate genes in human cell lines did drive cancerous changes in the cells.
“We also discovered that human prostate cancer samples had lower levels of expression from the five genes than usual, indicating that these pathways may be important for suppressing tumors.”
One of the five genes known as Wac was studied in transgenic mice having mutant PTEN. It was discovered that removing one copy of Wac increased the size of prostate tumors. However, removing both copies in the genome surprisingly reduced the size of the tumors.
This might reveal new pathways for treating prostate cancer.
Drugs that target PTEN related pathways are in the developing phase, but the tumors develop the resistance quickly. This might be useful for targeting other tumor suppressor pathways.
The researchers have hope that the study of these genes will provide a basis for the treatment of prostate and other cancer shortly.