Science Finds New Class of Cancer Genes

They have links to lymphomas, colorectal tumors

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- American scientists say they've identified a whole new class of cancer-causing genes.

In recent years, researchers described a novel class of genetic regulators, called microRNAs, that influence normal growth and development. But in this latest research, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that microRNAs also play an important role in human cancer.

The researchers discovered that certain of these gene types are overexpressed in malignancies ranging from lymphomas to colon cancer.

"These studies change the landscape of cancer genetics by establishing the specific microRNAs expressed in most common cancers and investigating the effects of microRNAs on cancer development and cancer genes," Dr. Paul Meltzer, a National Human Genome Research Institute cancer expert, said in a prepared statement.

The findings appear in the June 9 issue of Nature.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.

SOURCE: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, news release, June 8, 2005
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