Gene fusion linked to cancer development



London, Jan 12: Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre have identified a series of gene fusions that might one day serve as a marker for detecting cancer.


Recurrent gene fusions are believed to be the mechanism that leads to cancer development.

The research team claim that they have discovered several gene fusions in prostate cancer cells.

These fusions occur when chromosomes, the packages of DNA that contain genes, switch places with each other.

"We defined a new class of mutations in prostate cancer. The recurrent fusions are thought to be the driving mechanism of cancer," Nature magazine quoted Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology at the U-M Medical School, as saying.

"But we found other fusions as well, some of which were unique to individual patients. Our next step is to understand if these play a role in driving disease," he added.

Gene fusions are already known to play a role in blood cell cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma, and Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone disease.


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