Chronic Inflammation Gene May Destroy TumorsEditor's Choice
Main Category: Cancer / Oncology
Also Included In: Genetics
Article Date: 28 May 2012 - 16:00 PST
Chronic Inflammation Gene May Destroy Tumors
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A study published ahead of the 13 July print edition in Molecular Cell reveals that researchers at NYU School of Medicine have, for the first time, discovered a single gene that simultaneously controls inflammation and accelerated aging, as well as cancer.
Robert J. Schneider, PhD, the Albert Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis and associate director for translational research and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at the NYU Langone Medical Center, who was the principal investigator of the study, declared:
"This was certainly an unexpected finding. It is rather uncommon for one gene to have two very different and very significant functions that tie together control of aging and inflammation. The two, if not regulated properly, can eventually lead to cancer development. It's an exciting scientific find."
Scientists have known for decades that accelerated ageing, inflammation and cancer are somehow related, yet exactly how these conditions are linked has so far been unknown. The little knowledge available has partly been obtained in Schneider's previous studies, mainly that a gene called AUF1 controls inflammation by switching off the inflammatory response to prevent the onset of septic shock, and although this finding is significant, it fails to shed light on the link to ageing and cancer. The team observed that accelerated ageing occurred when the AUF1 gene was deleted, which led them to investigate further. A decade later, they have finally discovered the link between inflammation, advanced aging and cancer.
They found out that aside from controlling inflammation, AUF1, which belongs to a family of four related genes, also maintains the integrity of chromosomes. It activates telomerase, an enzyme, to repair the ends of chromosomes, and by doing so, it simultaneously reduces inflammation, prevents rapid aging and cancer from developing. Dr. Schneider explained: "AUF1 is a medical and scientific trinity. Nature has designed a way to simultaneously turn off harmful inflammation and repair our chromosomes, thereby suppressing aging at the cellular level and in the whole animal."
Armed with this new discovery, Dr. Schneider and his team are currently researching how the alterations manifest and present themselves clinically. They are examining human populations for specific types of genetic changes in the AUF1 gene, which are associated with rapid ageing, higher risk of cancer and co-developments of certain immune diseases.
Written By Petra Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
Adam R. Pont, Navid Sadri, Susan J. Hsiao, Susan Smith and Robert J. Schneider
Molecular Cell, May 2012, doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.04.019
25 May. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245916.php>
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