Anti-cancer gene shield found6th May 2008
A Scottish team have found chemicals which are able to prevent "one of the body's most important anti-cancer genes" from being destroyed.
Their study, published in the journal CancerCell, said the discovery of the chemicals, called tenovins, might help to provide new treatments for cancer.
Funding for the study was provided by Tenovus Scotland, Cancer Research UK, and the University of Dundee.
The research showed that the chemicals can build a defence around a particular gene, known as p53. This gene is often "switched off" or damaged by some cancers.
The p53 gene prevents damaged cells from growing and is triggered by DNA damage.
The Scottish team, from the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee, were able to prove that tenovins are important in stopping the body causing the breakdown of the p53 gene.
The research team found the group of chemicals by looking closely at a database of 30,000 "drug-like compounds".
Lead researcher Dr Sonia Lain said: "Our findings indicate that tenovins have the potential to stop tumours."
"We hope that targeting sirtuins with drugs could treat many different cancers in the future."
Dr Lesley Walker, of Cancer Research UK, said that any study which looked at the way cancer worked and had the potential to provide treatment for patients "was one which we believe will deliver many more crucial weapons in the fight against the disease."
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Title: Anti-cancer gene shield found
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6635
Date Added: 6th May 2008