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Unraveling A Stomach Cancer Puzzle

Date:
July 25, 2005
Source:
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Summary:
A multi-national research team led by the Melbourne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) has identified a potential new target for stomach cancer therapy, according to a paper published today in Nature Medicine.

Melbourne (July 24) -- It started several years ago with the observation that a large group of seemingly unconnected genes were behaving differently in patients with stomach cancer. Now a multi-national research team led by the Melbourne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) has joined the proverbial dots and identified a potential new target for stomach cancer therapy, according to a paper published today in the prestigious Nature Medicine journal.

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The paper's first author, LICR's Dr. Brendan Jenkins, says that this single study has made several substantial contributions to the understanding of Stat3, the protein linking those 'genes behaving badly' and central to development, tissue equilibrium and the immune system. "We showed that, in mice, hyperactive Stat3 shuts down a vital controller of stomach cell growth, called TGF beta, and this allows cancer formation, and this mechanistic link is a world-first. Also, the gene differences identified in human stomach cancers are similar to those we would predict if the same thing, Stat3 hyperactivity shutting down TGF, happens in humans. So this is also the first time a connection between stomach cancer and this signaling pathway has been made."

Team leader Dr. Matthias Ernst, also from LICR, says that these basic research findings may one day impact directly on the treatment of stomach and other cancers. "We've demonstrated that by lowering Stat3 hyperactivity we can suppress stomach cancer formation, importantly without affecting Stat3's other important roles in the body. Add to that the evidence suggesting that Stat3 is also involved in breast, head and neck, and prostate cancers, and we have a compelling case for investigating the development of therapies that target Stat3."


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The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. "Unraveling A Stomach Cancer Puzzle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050725065820.htm>.
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. (2005, July 25). Unraveling A Stomach Cancer Puzzle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050725065820.htm
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. "Unraveling A Stomach Cancer Puzzle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050725065820.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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