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Promise and Progress - 'Switched-Off' Genes May Put First Chink in Colon Cell's Anti-Tumor Armor
Faces of Childhood Cancer
'Switched-Off' Genes May Put First Chink in Colon Cell's Anti-Tumor Armor
Date: June 1, 2004
Nature Genetics, March 14, 2004
Scientists have uncovered a family of genes that are “switched off,” potentially contributing to the earliest cellular changes leading to colon cancer. The genes, called SFRPs, help control cell-growth genes, but when turned off, this protection is lost and early events in colon cancer initiation, occurring even before the formation of colon polyps, can begin. Study director Stephen Baylin, M.D., Ludwig Professor of Oncology, says the genes are altered through a reversible process called methylation and suggests that certain natural compounds, including green tea, as well as synthetic compounds like aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may block methylation and reactivate the genes. “Because its mutation occurs so early in the steps to tumor formation, SFRP is a great target for preventing cancer,” says Baylin.
This research is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
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
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- 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