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Scientists spot unknown gene interaction

Posted by tumicrobiology on December 6, 2006

Italian genetic researchers say they’ve made a discovery that might provide an important tool for controlling and treating breast cancer.

Scientists at Milan’s National Tumor Institute discovered proteins produced by the genes HER-2 and FHIT interact in a way that encourages tumor growth, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Wednesday. The researchers determined HER-2 prevents FHIT from blocking cell proliferation. Without FHIT’s action, cells can multiply quickly and end up producing a tumor.

“The analysis carried out for our research shows how the activity of HER-2 leads to the degradation of FHIT,” Sylvie Menard, head of experimental oncology at INT, told ANSA.

Medical researchers previously determined breast tumor development was often accompanied by an overproduction of proteins by the HER-2 gene. It is also known that in 70 percent of breast cancer cases, FHIT has stopped working for some reason.

Menard told ANSA it should be possible to find pharmaceuticals to prevent FHIT degradation, thereby slowing the development of tumors.

The research appears in the current issue of the journal of the American Academy of the Sciences.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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