Saturday January 25, 2020

Research: Gene Linked to Hair Loss May Improve Cancer Treatment

Further, analysis of data from previous study of melanoma patients with disabled IKZF1 gene showed higher recurrence rates and worse survival

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DNA
Heavy drinking can change your DNA: Study

Scientists have found that a gene associated with autoimmune hair loss disorder may also help improve cancer immunotherapy — treatment that uses body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

The findings showed that a gene named IKZF1 recruits T cells in alopecia areata — a condition in which immune cells attack and destroy hair cells — that gets switched off during several types of cancer.

Switching off IKZF1 protects the tumour cells from the immune system. But activating this gene may expose the cancer cells to the immune system and help the immune cells to attack the invading cancer cells.

“We showed that a gene that recruits T cells in alopecia areata is turned off in various types of cancer, protecting them from the immune system. But if we turn that gene back on, we can make those cancers vulnerable to the immune response,” said Angela M. Christiano from Columbia University in New York City, US.

cancer
Representational image. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Cell Systems, the team examined mouse models with melanoma cancer, in which the tumours were genetically modified to express IKZF1.

The results showed that the gene helped the immune system infiltrate the tumours causing them to lose at least some ability to escape the immune system.

While prostate cancer could also be made more responsive to immunotherapy, colorectal and kidney tumours would not respond to immunotherapy if IKZF1 expression was increased, because the gene was found to be inactive in these tumours, the researchers found.

Also Read: More Than 1000 Gene Variants Linked to Educational Attainment Identified

Further, analysis of data from previous study of melanoma patients with disabled IKZF1 gene showed higher recurrence rates and worse survival.

“We should be able to identify genetic signals that are hyperactive in autoimmune disease, and then harness those signals in tumours that have developed a way to avoid the immune response,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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Males Have Higher Risk of Suffering from Cancer: Study

Researchers explain why cancer risk is higher in males

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Cancer
DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males. Pixabay

DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males, according to a new study.

In findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers have reported that loss of function in certain genes of the sex-determining Y chromosome, which is present only in men, may cause them to have an elevated risk for cancer.

Using data from 9,000 individuals, the researchers studied Y-chromosome gene function in patients with various types of cancer. The findings showed that cancer risk increases with loss of function of six key Y-chromosome genes in various types of cells.

“Recent studies have shown that complete loss of the Y chromosome, which is essential to foetal sex differentiation, occurs, with aging, in the cells of some men,” said study author Juan Ramon Gonzalez from Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

Cancer DNA
Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome. Pixabay

“Although the loss of the Y chromosome has previously been associated with higher incidence of cancer, the causes of this association are poorly understood,” Gonzalez added.

These six Y-chromosome genes are involved in cell-cycle regulation, the failure of which can lead to tumour development.

According to the study, understanding the biological differences between men and women in cancer is crucial for the development of personalised lines of treatment and prevention.

“Men are not only at higher risk of cancer than women, they also face a worse prognosis. In fact, these differences partially account for the lower life expectancy of men,” Gonzalez added.

According to the researchers, although men may be more exposed to carcinogens due to the type of work they do and at higher risk because they are less likely to consult a doctor, the study has shown that there are also biological factors that increase cancer risk among men.

“In fact, it seems that one of these factors can be found in the Y chromosome, the very essence of maleness,” said study lead author Alejandro Caceres.

Also Read- Know About the Health Benefits of Green Tea

Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome, which would explain previous findings, or as a result of other mechanisms mediated by the chemical (epigenetic) inactivation of the same regions, the research said.

“Certain environmental exposures, for example to tobacco or other harmful substances, could affect chromosome function and lead to epigenetic modifications,” Gonzalez said. (IANS)