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Scientists identify a gene that may suppress colorectal cancer

cancer is currently ranked as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. But scientific progress in cancer research is challenged by the array of environmental and genetic influences on tumor initiation, development, and progression in the human population. Therefore, scientists have turned to mouse models, which have nearly identical genetic backgrounds and are housed in controlled conditions.

The scientists used a strain of mice called Min (multiple intestinal neoplasia). Min mice carry mutations in the Apc gene, which causes the development of intestinal tumors. Inactivation of the corresponding gene (APC) in humans is considered a key event in the development of colorectal cancer.

Tumor development is regulated by modifier genes, which may function to enhance or suppress tumor initiation, growth and/or progression. Atp5a1 is a modifier gene, and it is located on the same chromosome as Apc in mice. Interestingly, the results suggest that the mutant Atp5a1 gene caused the death of tumor cells, primarily when it was present on the same chromosome as the mutant Apc gene.


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Contact: Maria A. Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4127
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
21-Mar-2007


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