Newly-identified protein may contribute to colon cancer development

the ONA take:

A newly-identified pathway may contribute to the development of colon cancer, according to a study published in PLoS Genetics.

Researchers led by Anil Rustgi, MD, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a follow-up to a 2013 study that identified the LIN28B protein as a contributor of cancerous growth in intestinal cells through suppression of Let-7 molecules.

In the new study, the researchers created transgenic mice that produced no Let-7 miRNAs in order to better understand their function in preventing cancer.

They found that adenomas adenomatous polyps, as well as adenocarcinomas that resembled human colon tumors, had formed in the intestines of all these mice without Let-7 by mid-adulthood.

Upon analyses of the tumors, they were able to identify a protein called Hmga2 as a major factor in their development. They were able to conclude that within the intestinal lining of the mice without Let-7, Hmga2 gene expression was unusually high.

In order to check the relevance of these findings, the researchers also examined several hundred human colorectal cancer samples and found lower-than-normal Let-7 miRNA as well as higher-than-normal HMGA2 (the human version of the mouse Hmga2 protein) expression.

Newly-identified protein may contribute to colon cancer development
A newly-identified pathway may contribute to the development of colon cancer.
Cancer researchers already know of some oncogenes and other factors that promote the development of colon cancers, but they don't yet have the full picture of how these cancers originate and spread. Now researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have illuminated another powerful factor in this process.
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