TUESDAY, May 18, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Researchers using genetically engineered mice have found a gene that could play a key role in the development of leukemia and other cancers.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Children's Center found mice with overactive HMG-I genes quickly developed cases of leukemia and lymphoma similar to disease seen in humans.
"The early onset of cancerous tumors in 100 percent of these mice provides the most direct evidence for the link between overexpression of the HMG-I gene and cancer," senior author Dr. Linda Resar said in a prepared statement. The study appeared in the May 15 issue of Cancer Research.
It is not yet known how an overactive HMG-I gene interferes with normal cell growth and leads to cancer, Resar said.
She thinks it could be linked to the gene's involvement in a process known as transcriptional regulation, in which cells decide which genes to use to make proteins. Increased activity of the HMG-I gene could alter the activity of those genes involved in regulating cell growth.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more about cancer.