NEW LIGHT ON BOWEL CANCER
Colorectal cancer is a particularly common form of cancer in the ageing human population. In this week's Nature [VOL. 406, NO. 6798, 24 AUGUST 2000, pp. 897-902)], Josef Penninger and his colleagues from the Ontario Cancer Institute, Canada, report on a new link between this disease and a signalling protein known as 'p110g' (which rejoices in the full name of 'the p110g catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide-3-OH kinase').
Mice that have been genetically engineered to lack p110g show an increased incidence of colorectal cancers, implying that under normal conditions p110g can act as a 'brake' on the development of this type of cancer. Indeed, p110g is absent from human colon cancer cells, and restoration of the protein into these cells suppresses tumorigenesis. Further analysis of the role that p110g plays in regulating colon cell growth may help develop treatments for this common condition, Penninger suggests.
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