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Can we prevent cancerous tumours from developing?

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:42 / Updated on December 5, 2019 at 18:32

Researchers from British Columbia have made a great discovery that could potentially revolutionize the treatment of a wide range of cancers. They discovered a gene that suppresses the growth of a variety of cancerous tumours. The results of this study were recently published in the journal Nature Medicine.

In this study, scientists inactivated a gene called HACE 1 in study mice. When mice devoid of this gene were exposed to various environmental factors known to play a significant role in the development of certain cancers, such as ultraviolet radiation and lung carcinogens for example, researchers noted the sudden development of cancerous tumours. Study mice spontaneously developed breast, lung and liver cancers, lymphomas, melanomas and sarcomas. Furthermore, when researchers injected HACE 1 in mice, they noted the tumours stopped growing.

Although this is an exciting discovery, scientists will have to conduct further studies before it can be safely tested on humans. As always, a study in mice does not allow scientists to draw firm conclusions. Nevertheless, if scientists were able to develop a method enabling them to reactivate the HACE 1 gene, or prevent tumours from inactivating it, they could very well revolutionize how we treat many types of cancers in the future. A hopeful discovery that is definitely worth following…

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