Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Pathway Provides More Clues About BRCA1 Role In Breast Cancer

Date:
January 18, 2008
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
A breast cancer gene's newly discovered role in repairing damaged DNA may help explain why women who inherit a mutated copy of the gene are at increased risk for developing both breast and ovarian cancer.

A breast cancer gene's newly discovered role in repairing damaged DNA may help explain why women who inherit a mutated copy of the gene are at increased risk for developing both breast and ovarian cancer.

Related Articles


The discovery also could lead to more effective therapies for women with and without mutated copies of the BRCA1 gene, according to a study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

"Since it was discovered in 1994, BRCA1 and its role in preventing and causing cancer has been intensely studied, and our research represents an important piece of the puzzle," said Craig Bennett, Ph.D., a researcher in Duke's Department of Surgery and lead investigator on this study. "This study has identified an important mechanism by which BRCA1 comes into play when DNA -- the basis for all cell function -- is damaged. We have shown that this theory holds up not just in scientific models but in human breast cancer cells as well."

The researchers first looked at yeast to demonstrate that a molecular pathway that is particularly susceptible to BRCA1 influence is also crucial to normal cell function.

"The BRCA1 pathway we discovered is directly involved with the critical process of transcription, in which RNA acts as a messenger between DNA and the making of proteins," Bennett said.

DNA damage is a normal result of exposure to environmental agents, such as carcinogens, and the response to this damage can be influenced by other normal human processes such as aging and hormonal changes, Bennett said. It's what happens to RNA transcription after damage occurs in DNA that is BRCA1-dependent.

"We found that BRCA1 acts together with transcription to detect DNA damage and to signal the cell to repair itself," Bennett said. "When BRCA1 does not function correctly, as when it is mutated, DNA damage remains un-repaired and cancer can occur."

The researchers applied their findings in yeast to human breast cancer cells, with the same results.

"The fact that we were able to duplicate our results in human breast cancer cells is hugely important," said Bennett. "Yeast is a wonderful model organism that has been used to make significant discoveries in many areas of science and medicine, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, but the ability to replicate results in human cells is key."

Bennett said the discovery will lay the groundwork for further investigation of the role of BRCA1 and possibly lead to new therapeutic strategies targeting the genes or protein products within this pathway.

Women who have inherited a BRCA1 mutation have up to an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, and they are also at risk for developing the disease at much younger ages than women without the mutation, according to the American Cancer Society. Their risk for developing ovarian cancer is about 40 to 50 percent, compared to just over one percent for the general population. The mutation is most often found in women with Eastern European Jewish origin, but can be found in women of any race.

"Someday we hope that this research will lead to the development of more effective ways to treat both the women who have inherited a mutated copy of the BRCA1 gene and those who have not," Bennett said.

The findings appear in the January 16, 2008 online edition of the journal PLoS One. The study was funded by the United States Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the Italian Association for Research on Cancer.

Other researchers involved in this study include Tammy Westmoreland, Carmel Verrier, Carrie Blanchette, Tiffany Sabin, Hemali Phatnani, Yuliya Mishina, Gudrun Huper, Alice Selim, Ernest Madison, Dominique Bailey, Adebola Falae, John Olson, Arno Greenleaf and Jeffrey Marks of Duke; and Alvaro Galli of the Institute of Clinical Physiology in Pisa, Italy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "New Pathway Provides More Clues About BRCA1 Role In Breast Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116080319.htm>.
Duke University. (2008, January 18). New Pathway Provides More Clues About BRCA1 Role In Breast Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116080319.htm
Duke University. "New Pathway Provides More Clues About BRCA1 Role In Breast Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116080319.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins