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Scientists Discovered Gene That Restricts Tumours

Jan 16, 2013 13:47 IST

Top Picks :  Science | Technology Current Affairs , January 2013 Current Affairs , 2013 Current Affairs

Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University's School of Biotechnology claimed in the third week of January 2013 that they found the SCO2 gene which has potential qualities of restricting tumours. Scientists claimed that this SCO2 gene can therefore be used for the treatment of various kinds of cancers.

As of now, p53 gene was considered as the protein that holds back tumours and therefore prevents occurrence of cancer. But as per the combined research studies which were conducted by the scientists of JNU School of Biotechnology and Ohio State University Medical Centre as well as other universities, p53 gene employs SCO2 gene to imbibe this tumour-suppressing quality to it.

In the research study, the scientists injected SCO2 protein which is encoded in SCO2 gene, in the colon as well as breast tumour xenografts in the mice. The result was constant decay of the tumours. When SCO2 was combined with cancer drugs such as tamoxifen and cisplatin, the success rate of hypoxic tumour regression was 85 percent in 4 weeks.

Actually, SCO2 is responsible for enhancing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which in turn activates the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1). Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) then degenerates the growth rate of tumours. ROS is a kind of unstable molecule which encompasses oxygen, which in turn leads to easy reaction with the other molecules in the cell. Building of ROS in the cells can lead to damaged DNA, RNA as well as proteins, eventually being fatal. But SCO2 causes promotion of ROS for positive reasons, i.e. to activate the cell death and thus shrinking these tumours.

The scientists however also made it clear that translating these findings into the real-time treatment or therapy would take time. But it is still a very important step in the process of understanding mechanistic reasons of cancer. The scientists declared that all the genes which are involved in cancer cell metabolism hold importance, but they need to be understood and discovered. However, with the advanced therapies and the treatments in the future, cancer would not remain a deadly disease.

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