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Researchers identify cell pathway in colon cancer

CLEVELAND, OH For the one in 18 men and women who will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum during their lifetime and over 150,000 people diagnosed on a yearly basis, todays genetic research news offers some optimism.

In a study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, {PNAS Online Edition Feb. 20-23, 2007} led by Zhenghe John Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers have identified a cell pathway which plays a critical role in the development of colon cancer. This pathway may also play a role in the development of lung and stomach cancers.

Investigators say they have identified STAT3 {signal transducer and activator of transcription 3}, as a target regulated by PTPRT {Receptor Protein tyrosine phosphatase T}, which was previously identified to be mutated in colon, lung and stomach cancer patients.

"The role of protein tyrosine phosphatase in cancer is still an under-explored area. Our study shows that receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase T regulates an important signaling pathway that is critical in cancer development. This identification will allow new approaches to pharmacological designs and facilitate alternative approaches for cancer treatment, said Wang.

With over 52,000 deaths each year, colon and rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Colon and rectal cancers begin in the digestive system and may start in a variety of different areas of the GI tract which take years to progress. Both colon and rectal cancer have many commonalities and for that are commonly referred as colorectal cancer. Most cancers begin as polypsa growth of tissue into the center of the colon or rectum and when typed as adenoma, can become cancerous. The mortality rates have been declining, this in part due to earlier screenings, awareness of symptoms, remo
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Contact: Susan Licate
susan.licate@case.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
20-Feb-2007


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