In the 20 Jan 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 433, No. 7023), scientists uncover the role of Pokemon, a key protein in cancer progression (pp. 278-285). The molecule is a promising new target for cancer drugs, and could be used to predict the likely course of the disease.
Pier Paolo Pandolfi and his colleagues found that mice cells lacking the gene for Pokemon were not transformed into cancerous, dividing cells even when cancer-triggering genes were ramped up inside them. Conversely, mice making excess Pokemon in their immune cells developed aggressive tumours. The protein can directly reduce production of a key tumour suppressor gene called ARF.
Pokemon is produced at very high levels in a subset of blood, breast, lung, colon, prostate and bladder cancers, the researchers show. Furthermore, the clinical outcome of a particular form of B-cell lymphoma can be predicted based on whether their cells are making Pokemon or not.
Pier Paolo Pandolfi
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, NY, USA.
Tel: +1 212 639 6168/8174
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza