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Monday 22nd January 2018

Cancer spread gene found

6th October 2009

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have identified a gene which they believe plays an important role in the development of breast cancer.


They have said the gene, NRG1, is associated with more than 50% of all breast cancer and is also linked to tumours of the ovary, bowel, bladder and prostate.

The team, who published their research in the journal Oncogene, have said that their discovery could provide "vital information" about how cancer grows and spreads.

NRG1 is found on chromosome 8 and assists in the suppression of the development of cancer.

Cancerous cells are often found to be lacking in chromosome 8 and when the research team looked at breast cancer samples they discovered  "at least part of the key gene" was not present.

Although every human has a complete NRG1 at birth, the research showed that it could become harmed and allow cancer to develop.

Lead researcher Dr Paul Edwards said: "I believe NRG1 could be the most important tumour suppresser gene discovery in the last 20 years as it gives us vital information about a new mechanism that causes breast cancer."

"We have got strong evidence that the gene is implicated in breast cancer but we have no reason to think it's not the same for other cancers, including prostate and colon cancer."

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