Deletion of One Gene Can Save Thousands
Pancreatic cancer is an extremely aggressive cancer that often times is left to diagnosed at a much later stage than other cancers. As the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, it is believed to bump up to number two by 2020. This new research began with theories regarding arising tumors which are caused by adult cells reverting into their earlier, primitive embryonic development stages; they grow. Low and behold, researchers have discovered that the ATDC gene, once removed, prevented lab mice from acquiring pancreatic cancer whereas the other mice under the same conditions with the gene did acquire pancreatic cancer. Further experiments have also led to the discovery of specific proteins and more details on the chain reaction mechanism that ATDC goes through to cause pancreatic cancer.
I think if researchers and other scientist look further into this study, they may find a way to prevent or cure pancreatic cancer in humans. Although mice are different than humans in ways, there were times when studies on mice opened doors for human discoveries.ReplyDelete
It's quite amazing that scientists were able to prevent mice from acquiring pancreatic cancer by deleting a single gene. I do wonder, however, if in future research they might discover this gene plays multiple phenotypic roles in organisms like mice and humans. If the ATDC gene is pleiotropic, there is the possibility that it is in these organisms' genomes for another reason. Thus, eliminating it could be dangerous if it controls vital outcomes in the organisms that are yet unknown.ReplyDelete
I do hope this translates well to humans. Imagine how awesome it would be if we could eliminate certain cancers with genetic engineering. Although I would want more tests done to make sure deleting that gene doesn't affect anything else.ReplyDelete
I did a post on this as well! I really enjoyed reading your response. I found it absolutely amazing how the mice without the gene did not develop pancreatic cancer.ReplyDelete