New Insight on Cancer Onset from Worm Studies
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that a protein TFG-1 found in worms has an important role to play in the onset of various cancer types in humans. The results of their study are published in the April 2011 issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology.
The gene encoding this protein is a product of the fusion of three oncogenes. It is called a chimeric gene formed from the union of the broken parts of DNA structures. The properties of such a gene are distinct. As of now, researchers were not aware of the functions of the protein TFG-1.
The present study found that this fusion gene regulates the movement of growth factors outside a cell. As the levels of these growth factors increase, they provide a suitable environment for the proliferation of malignant cells. The process is believed to be the same in humans as well.
Though further research is warranted, the initial development has a paved a way for the discovery of a targeted therapy for cancer.