Family of liver cancer genes identified

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Washington, Mar 2: A new study on mice, conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Stony Brook University Medical Center, has reported the discovery of a family of genes linked to the development of liver cancer.

The study was led by principal Investigator Wadie F. Bahou, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and colleagues, who discovered in a mouse model that losing one specific gene in this family may lead to Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The investigators also found that a more aggressive form of the disease occurs when another member of the gene family is turned on. According to Dr. Bahou the findings about the two genes show that both genes could be considered as the basis for the development of important targets for early diagnosis and/or treatment of HCC.

HCC is responsible for causing more than 80 percent of all liver cancer in humans, leading to death in 500,000 to 1 million adults annually worldwide. hile the treatment for advanced HCC is usually ineffective, a recently approved chemotherapy drug developed for the treatment of metastatic liver cancer provides disease stabilization but not a cure.

"This is an exciting development in the field of cancer research, as there is a tremendous need for targeted therapies for liver cancer. The data resulting from our research provides important insights into genes that may predispose to HCC development," he adds, further noting that the model is a valuable tool for testing therapeutic agents aimed at curing liver cancer," emphasized Dr. Bahou.


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