Biology

Scientists' identification of essential genes could lead to new cancer treatments

Scientists' identification of ...
The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines
The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines
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The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines
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The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines
The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines
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The researchers have turned off genes associated with five different cancer cell lines

A team of University of Torontoresearchers has worked through the human genome, switching off genesin an effort to map out those essential in keeping our cells alive.The scientists were able to identify sets of genes associated withspecific cancers, paving the way for highly targeted treatments.

While mapping the human genome was ahuge step forward, actually understanding – and therefore beingable to manipulate – the function of each individual gene isextremely difficult. In order to work out the individual functions ofeach of the thousands of genes, scientists switch off genesone-by-one, gauging what happens to the cell as a result.

Early attempts to do this were veryslow or too inaccurate to be practical, but a more effective geneediting tool was introduced in 2012, known as CRISPR, which has madethe process much quicker and more accurate.

The University of Toronto team decidedto look at the big picture, switching off close to 18,000 genes – anumber that represents 90 percent of the entire human genome. Indoing so, they eventually isolated just 1,500 genes that are essential tokeeping our cells alive.

Digging deeper, the researchers turnedoff genes associated with five different cancer cell lines – brain,ovarian, retinal and two forms of colorectal cancer – establishing that the different tumors rely on specific and uniquesets of genes. This information could be used to create newtreatments that attack only the identified cells, not harmingsurrounding tissue.

The research is a big step forward inhumanity's overall understanding of how our genome works, and puts uscloser than ever to achieving the ultimate goal of identifying thefunction of every single gene.

"We can now interrogate our genome atunprecedented resolution in human cells that we grow in the lab withincredible speed and accuracy," says the University of Toronto'sProf. Jason Moffat. "In short order, this will lead to afunctional map of cancer that will link drug targets to DNA sequencevariation."

The findings of the study werepublished in the journal Cell.

Source: University of Toronto

3 comments
Oun Kwon
Another giant step to unravel cancer and defeat it.
AGO
Another distraction to continue enormous amounts of money to big pharma. Genes are a BLUE PRINT!!! A model of what our cells should be! It's the expression of genes that is important, not the model!!! EPIGENETICS!!! We figured this out 85 years ago!!! Cancer is not genetic. It is metabolic. We influence the expression of our genes through our lifestyle and stressors, but mostly by what we eat! Cancer cells have a defect in respiration that only allows them to metabolize glycogen. these cells need tons of it!!! A high carbohydrate diet (standard American diet) is perfect for feeding cancer all the sugar it needs to produce energy and replicate itself. This same defect however also prevents cancer from metabolizing ketone bodies, so a ketogenic diet is probably the most effective and most practical way to address cancer. Research metabolic therapy, Dr Thomas Seyfried, Dr Otto Heinrich Warburg, Dr Dominic Dagostino, ketogenic adaptation......
AGO
Cancer is not genetic! This is just more smoke and mirrors! Dr Warburg won the Nobel prize in 1930 for discovering that cancer cells can only metabolize glycogen and need tons of it (high carb standard American diet)!!! In 2012 Dr Seyfried discovered that transplanting the nucleus of a cancerous cell into a healthy cell did not turn the healthy cell into a cancerous cell!!! The problem is not genetics, it's epigenetic and metabolic!!!! The expression of your genes and the respiration of cancerous cells tells us that we (big pharma cuz they fund all research with complete bias) have been looking in the wrong place for 100 years!!!!