Friday, February 22, 2013

Scientists Use Worms to Unearth Cancer Drug Targets

In August of 2012, Science Daily posted that a new discovery done by Wyoming scientists that could have an impact on how we try and treat cancer.  Using small nematode worms, several genes were discovered that may be potential drug target for cancer.  Inhibiting these gene could reverse some key characteristics in cancer cells.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide," said David S. Fay, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Molecular Biology Department at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. "We hope that by carrying out basic genetic research on one of the most widely implicated human cancer genes, that we can contribute to the arsenal of diverse therapeutic approaches used to treat and cure many types of cancer.

Dr. Fay and his colleagues used a strain of nematode worms that carried a mutation in a gene similar to one that is inactivated in many human cancers. This gene is thought to carry out tumor progression, cell growth, and survival.  The researchers systematically inactivated other individual genes in the genome of the mutant gene in the worms.  As they deactivated various genes, scientists identified those that led to a reversal of defects caused by the loss of the mutant gene, suggesting that they could be used as targets for anti-cancer therapies.  Here is some more information about Dr. Fay's.

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