Stem cell gene linked to cancer
Reported July 20, 2010
Scientists have found a mutation in stem cell genes, which
they claim could be linked to development of leukaemia and other cancers.
An international team, led by Peter Papathanasiou of The Australian National
University , has completed a three-year screening project to find the genes that
control development and turnover of stem cells.
Stem cells can grow into any other kind of cell in the body, making them a hot
area of research to find new treatments for diseases and injuries.
In fact, a major finding of the new study is the discovery of a novel DNA
mutation in the c-Myb gene which has been previously linked to a number of
different cancer types, the Blood journal reported.
"We've shown that blood stem cells with this genetic mutation behave the same
way as those present in human bone marrow diseases, including diseases that can
evolve into leukaemia," said Dr Papathanasiou.
Added team member Prof Andrew Perkins from Queensland University : "By
understanding more about the genetic blueprint of these kinds of disorders, we
can start to develop new ways of targeting diseases. Currently, there is no
treatment for this group of blood diseases, but discovery of this mutation
provides new avenues for investigation."