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Cancer Gene Uncovered

Scientists identify gene linked to development of melanoma and colon cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A gene associated with development of melanoma and colon cancer has been identified by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

The gene is called Nr-CAM and it normally encodes a Cell Adhesion Molecule (CAM) in neuronal, or nerve cells. However, Dr. Avri Ben-Ze'ev and his colleagues found that when Nr-CAM is expressed at high levels in other types of cells, it can help drive the progression of cancer.

The study appears in tomorrow's issue of Genes and Development.

The researchers found Nr-CAM expression in mouse fibroblast cells causes rapid proliferation in cell culture. Those cells can form tumors when they're injected into mice with compromised immune systems, the study says.

Also, Nr-CAM is highly expressed in human melanoma cells and colon cancer tissue, the study found. Future research will focus on how Nr-CAM contributes to the development of such cancers.

More information

Here's more on Cell Adhesion Molecules.

SOURCE: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, news release, Aug. 14, 2002
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