Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


 


 

Twenty-seven genes that suppress cancer discovered

06 November 2017

By Julianna Photopoulos

Appeared in BioNews 925

Scientists have found 27 new tumour suppressor genes. The discovery, made using a new statistical model, could help develop cancer treatments that target these genes.

'Using this powerful toolkit, we've uncovered rare tumour suppressor genes that when lost in mutated cells cause cancer,' said author Dr Jonas Demeulemeester of the Francis Crick Institute in London. 'This could pave the way for the development of personalised cancer treatments.'

Human cells normally contain two copies of tumour suppressor genes, which help prevent them from turning cancerous. When both of these copies are lost, cells grow and divide uncontrollably forming tumours.

These double-gene abnormalities are hard to identify in cancer cells because tumours often contain both healthy and cancerous cells in unknown proportions. This makes it difficult to determine whether just one or both copies of the gene are missing.

The scientists developed a model that identified single nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome. This allowed them to analyse 2218 tumours across 12 cancer types, including breast, lung and bowel cancer. In every sample, they compared cancerous cells with healthy ones to find out how many copies of each gene there were in the unhealthy cells.

Their findings revealed 96 gene deletions among the tumours, which included 43 suppressor genes. From these, 16 were previously known while 27 were completely new. In addition, the scientists found harmful deletions to have a different 'DNA footprint' than smaller, non-harmful ones.

Senior author Dr Peter Van Loo of the Francis Crick Institute said: 'Our study demonstrates that rare tumour suppressor genes can be identified through large-scale analysis of the number of copies of genes in cancer samples.

'Cancer genomics is a growing area of research, and the computational tools we use are a powerful way to find new genes involved in cancer.'

The study was published in Nature Communications.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
The Frances Crick Institute | 31 October 2017
 
Nature Communications | 31 October 2017
 
Medical News Today | 11/2017
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

30 October 2017 - by Annabel Slater 
Two studies have discovered 72 new genetic variants associated with the risk of developing breast cancer...
19 October 2017 - by Charlott Repschlager 
Between one and 10 mutations are required for a healthy cell to turn cancerous...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation