Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!
Scientists at the BC Cancer Agency have discovered a gene they believe can suppress the growth of tumours for a wide variety of cancers - a discovery that could lead in time to new treatments for the disease. According to a study published in the most recent edition of the journal Nature Medicine, the gene - known as HACE1 - reduces the growth of certain cancerous tumours in lab mice and human tumour cells. Fan Zhang, one of the study's authors, said researchers at the agency first became curious about HACE1 several years ago, when they discovered that the gene - which all humans have - was effectively turned off in certain tumours, such as those caused by breast cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma. That led researchers to suspect that HACE1, when it's working properly, somehow protects tissue from developing tumours. To test their theory, scientists with the agency knocked the HACE1 gene out of lab mice and then exposed them to carcinogens like gamma radiation. As expected, the mice without HACE1 developed tumours much faster than those with the gene. Researchers found similar results with human cells in the lab. When HACE1 was taken out, cells were able to form tumours - and when it was put back in, tumour growth stopped. Researchers with the agency are hopeful that, in time, their work could lead to new cancer treatments that would reactivate HACE1 in cancerous tissue, slowing the growth of tumours. But Zhang said that day is still a long way off. "We're still working on the cell-culture level and the animal level to understand how HACE1 functions," she said. And while scientists know how to reinsert the HACE1 gene into mice, or cancerous cells in the lab, getting it into real-life cancer patients is another question. "So far we don't have a clear [idea] how we can put HACE1 back into a human being," said Zhang. She said that's what researchers at the agency are working on now.