Monday, January 4, 2016

“Study Finds Mechanism That Causes Normal Cells to Become Cancerous”

That’s the headline in the December 23rd 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal which reports that “Researchers studying brain tumors said they have discovered a new biological mechanism that causes normal cells to become cancer cells, a finding that both challenges current treatment strategies and could lead to new approaches against the disease.” See
According to an article by Ron Winslow, “In a study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, the researchers reported that a mutation in what are called IDH genes causes changes in how DNA is folded into the nucleus of cells. This in turn enables abnormal interactions between other genes, turning on a process that promotes the development of tumors.”

A separate write-up of the study in The Seattle Times, by Gina Kolata of the NY Times, reports that “The study’s lead author, Dr. Bradley Bernstein, a member of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and a pathology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, said he has found a similar phenomenon in about a dozen other tumors.

He added that the discovery suggests a potential treatment with an existing chemotherapy drug that restores the walls separating the DNA sections.” Here’s a link to that article by Gina Kolata:  

I have no idea how much or how quickly this moves us forward in finding a cure or cures, but I like this quote, “I am biased, obviously,” Bernstein said. But, he added: “I am really optimistic about the potential of this information.”

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