New anti-tumour gene may lead to effective cancer therapy

December 17th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 17 (ANI): Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University have uncovered a new anti-tumour gene that can interact with and suppress a key protein that is overactive in 90 percent of human cancers.

The researchers hope that the discovery of new gene called SARI can one day lead to an effective and efficient gene therapy for cancer.

Lead researcher Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and director of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine in the VCU School of Medicine said that this novel gene highlights a previously unrecognised molecular pathway underlying the anti-tumour action of interferon, INF.

The researchers were able to identify the gene, with the help of subtraction hybridisation, a technique pioneered by pioneered in the Fisher laboratory.

During the study, they delivered SARI to cancer cells using a virus. The infected cancer cells subsequently stopped dividing and died.

Fisher said that SARI could be an effective anti-cancer treatment for many tumours.

SARI, induced by a potent immune system modulator called interferon, was found to suppress growth and survival of tumour cells by interfering with the action of cancer cell molecules that drive cell division and promote survival.

“Additionally, IFNs are powerful immune modulating agents that contribute to the immune response to cancer and they are effective inhibitors of new blood vessel formation, the process of angiogenesis, which is obligatory for the growth of both primary and metastatic cancers,” said Fisher.

“We have uncovered a new way by which interferon can induce anti-tumour activity. The identification of SARI also provides a new potential reagent for the selective killing of tumor cells,” he added.

The study is published Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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