Hinterland Green

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Scientists Discover Malignant Cancer-Causing Molecule

I came across an interesting article on the Environmental News Network detailing how scientists at the University of Montreal's Department of Biochemistry and the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre identified a molecule known as PML, which directly affects whether or not a cancer cell become malignant. This may be a breakthrough in cancer research if scientists are able to ascertain how malignant tumors can be converted to benign tumors. The team was led by Dr. Gerardo Rebeyre of the University of Montreal.
"We discovered that benign cancer cells produce the PML molecule and display abundant PML bodies, keeping them in a dormant, senescent state. Malignant cancer cells either don't make or fail to organize PML bodies, and thus proliferate uncontrollably," said Ferbeyre.

A dormant, senescent state is one in which the cell has matured and is no longer able to reproduce. PML is the body's natural defense against the cancer spreading to other cells and other parts of the body. Previously, the mechanism for how PML worked was a mystery. However, the team’s research has managed to shine a light on it by collecting samples from hospital patients.

"Our findings unravel the unexpected ability of PML to organize a network of tumor suppressor proteins to repress the expression or the amount of other proteins required for cell proliferation," explained researcher Véronique Bourdeau. Researcher Mathieu Vernier emphasized that "this is an important finding with implications for our understanding on how the normal organism defends itself from the threat of cancer."

Read published article: http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/25/1/41.abstract
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