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HEDGEHOG

ANCHOR LEAD:  A PATHWAY USED BY EMBRYOS FOR DEVELOPMENT IS ALSO IMPORTANT IN SOME CANCERS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Hedgegog is the rather quirky name for a biochemical pathway important in the normal development of embryos.  Research at Johns Hopkins led by Charles Rudin has shown that this pathway is also important in two very different cancers.

RUDIN:  Hedgehog is a fundamental pathway that regulates normal embryo development, and it turns out this same pathway gets reactivated in a number of cancer cells. Two of the cancer types that seem particularly dependent on this hedgehog pathway are the most common type of cancer that occurs in humans, which is basal cell skin cancer, and medulloblastoma, which is the most common form of brain cancer in children.          :30

Rudin and colleagues showed that an existing drug that inhibits the hedgehog pathway had quite an impact on advanced cases of basal cell cancer and one case of medulloblastoma.  This success paves the way toward use of the drug earlier.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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