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Monday, July 13, 2015

Cancer News: 'Jumping genes' may drive esophageal cancer ♦ Gene therapy advance thwarts brain cancer in rats ♦ Critical genes responsible for brain tumor growth identified

'Jumping genes' may drive esophageal cancer 'Jumping genes' may add to the genetic chaos behind more than three-quarters of esophageal cancer cases, scientists have discovered. 'Jumping genes', called L1 elements, can uproot themselves and move to new areas in the DNA, sometimes accidentally moving into genes that control the cell's growth.
Critical genes responsible for brain tumor growth identified After generating new brain tumor models, scientists have identified the role of a family of genes underlying tumor growth in a wide spectrum of high grade brain tumors.
Gene therapy advance thwarts brain cancer in rats A nanoparticle gene delivery system has been developed by scientists that destroys brain gliomas in a rat model, significantly extending the lives of the treated animals. The nanoparticles are filled with genes for an enzyme that converts a prodrug called ganciclovir into a potent destroyer of the glioma cells.
Study advances potential of tumor genome sequencing and DNA-based blood tests in precision treatment In a genome-sequencing study of pancreatic cancers and blood in 101 patients, scientists say they found at least one-third of the patients' tumors have genetic mutations that may someday help guide precision therapy of their disease. Results of blood tests to detect DNA shed from tumors, they say, also predicted cancer recurrence more than half a year earlier than standard imaging methods.
License for cutting: How intracellular signaling regulates growth factor production Cancer cells need life-essential molecules to proliferate. These so-called growth factors are activated by ectodomain shedding of precursor proteins on the outside of the plasma membrane, mainly carried out by three human cleavage enzymes. A pharmaceutical blocking of these enzymes could hinder cancer from growing but would also inhibit other life-essential processes. Now, researchers have shown that the factor-precursor-producing cells themselves determine if and when cleavage may occur. This is decided by intracellular signaling. Interfering with defined signaling in cells producing cancer growth factors could be developed into a new way of cancer treatment.

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