Premature Aging Gene Could Have Implications for New Cancer Therapies
Date: June 1, 2004
Genes and Development, May 1, 2004
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers have identified a gene that, when altered, makes cells and animals age prematurely and die. The finding could be a target for new cancer therapies that force cancer cells into an early death. The gene, called PASG (proliferation associated SNF2-like gene), normally works by decreasing the activity of other genes, helping to add chemical groups to DNA in a process known as methylation, or by modifying protein structures called histones that help wind DNA into compact coils.
“In order to grow and stay alive, cells depend on the PASG gene to reduce the activity of other genes, but it’s a very complicated process—much like modifying the engine of an F-15 fighter jet while it’s flying,” says Robert Arceci, M.D., Ph.D., King Fahd Professor and director of pediatric oncology, and director of the study.
“If PASG’s methylation activity could be blocked in human cancer cells, we could potentially cause them to age faster and die earlier,” he says. Arceci and his team are now screening compounds for their ability to block PASG in tumor cells and mice. Human studies are not yet planned.
This research was funded by the Children's Cancer Foundation, Hodson Trust, and the National Institutes of Health.
Articles in this Issue
- Gene Hunters Pinpoint New Cancer Gene Target
- Faces of Childhood Cancer
- Clinical Trial in the Spotlight
- A Fighting Chance
- A Champion of Pediatric Cancer Research
- One Physician's Quest for a Treatment for the Worst Kind of Pediatric Brain Tumor
- Origin of Multiple Myeloma Found in Rare Stem Cell
- Experimental Drug Being Tested for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- 'Switched-Off' Genes May Put First Chink in Colon Cell's Anti-Tumor Armor
- Against All Odds: Ariana's Story
- From the Laundry Room to the Laboratory
- In Lauren's Head
- Pediatric Oncology Friends Bring Rhyme and Reason to Pediatric Cancer Research
- Optimists Provide Landmark Gift to Children's Cancer Research
- Eli Kahn
- Possible Interaction Identified Between Tamoxifen and Hot Flash Drug
- Premature Aging Gene Could Have Implications for New Cancer Therapies
- Something's Fishy in Cancer Research
- Angiogenesis Gene Linked to Boimarkers in Breast Cancer
- A Cure is More than the Eradication of Cancer
- Arsenic Part of Novel Treatment for Leukemia