Tuesday January 21, 2020

Researchers Identify Key Gene Behind Breast Cancer

If further tests confirmed that CBX2 was an "oncogene", it could be a potential therapeutic drug target for aggressive types of breast cancer

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Australian researchers have tracked an elusive cancer-promoting gene that appears to be behind aggressive breast cancers, paving the way for crucial therapeutic drug treatment for the deadly disease.

Researchers from the University of Queensland, together with Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US, developed a statistical approach “to reveal many previously hard-to-find genes that contribute to cancer”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Even if a group of people all have the same type or even subtype of cancer, the molecular make-up of that cancer is different from person to person because the activity of genes varies between people,” said Jess Mar, Associate Professor at the varsity.

In the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, the team used a method to “zoom in” on genetic information from cancer patients and identify genes with two distinct “bumps” of data — low activity in one group of patients but high activity in another.

Analysing breast cancer data from a major cancer genome patient database, the researchers identified five genes that were “over-active” in a subset of breast cancer patients and followed up on the most promising target, known as CBX2.

cancer
Key gene behind breast cancer identified. Pixabay

“Previous studies have shown that most healthy female tissue has low levels of CBX2 activity, while an aggressive subtype of breast cancer has been shown to have high levels of CBX2 activity,” Mar said.

“This suggested a possible link between CBX2 activity and breast cancer, but the nature of that link hadn’t been investigated,” she said.

“So we switched off the gene in a human breast cancer cell line and this slowed down the growth of those cancer cells, suggesting that CBX2 might promote tumour growth.”

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If further tests confirmed that CBX2 was an “oncogene”, it could be a potential therapeutic drug target for aggressive types of breast cancer, Mar said.

“Identifying ‘hidden’ oncogenes that are unique to smaller groups of cancer patients will open up new therapeutic avenues and move us closer to personalized medicine,” she said. (IANS)

Next Story

70 Lakh Women Screened for Breast Cancer Under Ayushman Bharat: Smriti Irani

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline

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Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani. Facebook

Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, more than 70 lakh women have undergone screening for breast cancer, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

Irani was in Goa to launch a new health kit, launched by the Goa government’s Women and Child Ministry, which will help diagnose breast cancer and other medical ailments in association with Anganwadi workers.

“70 lakh women have screened for breast cancer through Ayushman Bharat scheme,” Irani said, adding that 30 lakh women across India have been screened for cervical cancer under the national universal health care scheme.

Breast cancer pink ribbon
Breast cancer survival rates are rising as screening and treatment improve. Pixabay

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline.

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“No one had thought that there would be a government at the Centre which will not just announce schemes, but will also achieve targets ahead of the deadline of 2020. Take the Ujjwala Yojana for example for which the target was providing free gas cylinders for five crore women. I am happy that today when we see Ujwala Yojana numbers, in just three years eight crore poor women have got clean fuel,” Irani also said. (IANS)