When a Good Gene Turns Bad

Wound-healing genes can help spread some cancers, study finds

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MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Wound-healing genes actually promote the spread of some types of cancer, says a Stanford University study in the Jan. 19 issue of Public Library of Science Biology.

The Stanford scientists found some tumors activate these wound-healing genes, something that makes the tumors more likely to spread.

This finding could help researchers develop new ways to treat cancer and may also help doctors determine which cancers need more aggressive treatment.

"This is a feature we can find early on in the disease and it could change the way cancer is treated," study author Dr. Howard Chang says in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues found that prostate and liver cancers always activated wound-healing genes, while there were mixed responses in breast, colon and prostate tumors.

Tumors with active wound-healing genes were highly aggressive and more likely to spread to other tissues.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about metastatic cancer.

SOURCE: Stanford University Medical Center, news release, Jan. 19, 2004

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