Gene that regulates tumours in neuroblastoma identified

June 2nd, 2009 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a gene that may play a key role in regulating tumour progression in neuroblastoma, a form of cancer usually found in young children.

Lead researcher Dr Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., from Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research has shown astrocyte elevated gene-1, AEG-1, a cancer promoting gene, is frequently activated in neuroblastoma.

MYCN is a known genetic determinant of neuroblastoma and elevated levels have been observed in one third of neuroblastoma patients.

The researchers found a potential correlation between AEG-1 and MYCN in neuroblastoma.

“We believe that activation of AEG-1 in addition to MYCN is critical to the development and progression of neuroblastoma,” said Fisher.

“This works shows that AEG-1 plays a crucial role in the development and progression of neuroblastoma through activating important signaling pathway and induction of MYCN.

“In addition, we have shown that AEG-1 could be a potential prognostic marker for neuroblastoma and a potential target for novel therapeutic strategies for neuroblastoma patients,” he added.

The team found that the elevated expression of AEG-1 makes cancer cells highly aggressive and resistant to factors that may influence cell suicide, and that loss of AEG-1 reduces the tumour-causing properties of highly aggressive neuroblastoma cells.

The study is published in the journal Oncogene. (ANI)

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