Skip to content
|Scientists Discover Cancer-causing Role of Gene Proteins|
|Written by Administrator|
Dr. Tak Mak and scientists at The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital have discovered the role of two "cousins" in the genetic family tree of cancer development.
The findings, published online in the journal Genes and Development, plant the seed for a critical new branch of scientific inquiry, says Dr. Mak, principal investigator. Dr. Mak, Director of The Campbell Family Institute is also a Professor, University of Toronto, in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology.
"Until now, we thought these cousins (TAp73 protein isoforms) were not involved in cancer. Our results prove that they are. This is fundamental to understanding every human cancer and furthering the science."
In the lab, Dr. Mak and his team challenged traditional thinking about the role of these proteins. "Before, scientists studied only whether these proteins were present or absent. We decided to study how they interact with each other and discovered that they actually have a split personality. When we turn one ‘on' or ‘off', the other changes behavior and becomes part of the cancer-causing process. The key is understanding the ratio of the interaction."
"The next step is to understand how the ratio affects cell division that leads to human cancer," says Dr. Mak, whose work was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:
Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, limiting time in the sun, being physically active, and eating a better diet. Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes.Although doctors often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not, research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or viruses, bacteria, and certain hormones. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. Other common risk factors for cancer include:
About Breast CancerBreast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts from cells of the breast. The disease occurs mostly in women, but men can get breast cancer too. In the U.S., it affects one in eight women. There are many types of breast cancer, though some of them are very rare. Sometimes a breast tumor can be a combination of these types and to have a mixture of invasive and in situ cancer. The most common types of breast cancer are:
About Dr. Tak Mak
Dr. Tak Mak is a pre-eminent Canadian scientist and internationally acclaimed immunologist, renowned for his 1984 discovery of cloning the human T-cell receptor. His discoveries have made an enormous contribution to the understanding of immunity and especially as it relates to cancer and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Mak, Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, has published more than 600 articles and received more than 3,000 citations in leading scientific journals. He is also Professor, University of Toronto, in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology.
His honours include the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Emil von Behring Prize, the E.W.R Steacie Prize, and the General Motors Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Prize. Dr. Mak is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario and recipient of the Premier's Summit Award, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London.
About The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research
The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess
Margaret Hospital brings together an elite team of cancer researchers,
scientists, clinicians and staff dedicated to the ultimate goal of
conquering breast cancer by leveraging basic, translational and
clinical research into dramatic breast cancer breakthroughs. http://www.campbellfamilyinstitute.com/
About Princess Margaret Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm Ontario Cancer Institute -- which includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute and The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research -- have achieved an international reputation as global leaders in the fight against cancer. Princess Margaret Hospital is a member of University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital. All three are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. http://www.uhn.on.ca/
|< Prev||Next >|
Contact Our News Editors
| Back to Front Page
|| List of all Health and Medical Sections
|Diseases and Conditions|
|Health and Medical|
|Mind, Body, Spirit|
|Natural Medicine/Natural Healing|
|General Nutrition Articles|
|Latest Health and Medicine Studies|
|Vitamins and Supplements|
A to Z Health: