Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Deficiency of the QKI Gene and Cancer

The University of Texas MD Cancer Center has concluded that the survival of cancer cells is possibly linked to the deficiency of a tumor suppressor gene called quaking. Quaking is also known as the QKI gene. The QKI gene is a huge contributor to the regulation of cancer stem cells in glioblastoma. Glioblastoma are the deadliest kind of brain tumor that one can have. The cells that make up these tumors, called glioma stem cells, are able to self-renew inexhaustibly until tumors are produced in the brain. The glioma cells self-renew by creating identical daughter cells when dividing. To maintain the process of cell division the glioma cells have to be in environments providing the proper cellular signals. 

When glioma cells are in optimal conditions, they are said to be in niches and can continue to divide. This increases the amount of cancer stem cells. Previous studies conducted proved that the QKI gene is a tumor suppressor that regulates cancer stem cells. In addition, QKI affects cellular activity by regulating endocytosis. This process is responsible for the degradation of receptors on the cell that allow the continuation of stem cell self-renewal. The increase in cell receptors due to deficiency of the QKI gene causes the cancer stem cells to divide in areas outside of the niches.  A defective QKI gene will result in an increase of the cell receptors on cancer stem cells. Therefore, the amount of glioma, cancer cells, can divide very rapidly even if they are located in areas outside of the niches. 

According to Dr. Jian Hu, assistant professor of the Department of Cancer Biology, the discovery of the deficient QKI gene may lead to alternative methods for therapeutic treatments of cancer. This is a great discovery. I feel that scientists are making great progress and learning so much about the destructive disease that we call cancer. Cancer has taken, and is still taking, the lives of so many people. Cancer does not discriminate by age or the current great health one may have. Scientists can work on gene therapy techniques with the QKI in the future to learn more about cancer. Consequently, I hope to see the development of a technique to isolate a working QKI gene to administer to individuals with a deficient QKI gene as a cancer treatment. It is great that scientists have discovered so much about the worst kind of tumor that one can have. 

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