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Technology and Health News > Tuesday, July-08-2008

How a tumor is born

A study explains how a yeast cell becomes cancerous: the fault is a chromosomal translocation

An altering of the genome that causes cancer was finally detected and reproduced in the laboratory. The discovery, crucial for understanding the genesis and development of malignancies, is due to the geneticist Charles V. Bruschi, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of yeast, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Trieste (Icgeb) and coordinator of the Society of Italian scientific yeast (Zymi).

Together with his group, Bruschi has uncovered, that the so-called chromosomal translocation is at fault. The yeast cells, whose DNA was sequenced completely in 1996, are a good model because they possess many similarities with mammalian cells and are easily manipulated by genetic engineering. Thanks to technical Bit (Bridge-Induced Translocation), designed by Bruschi and Valentina Tosato in 2005, it was possible to artificially induce the translocation and demonstrate the crucial role of this phenomenon in the formation of cancer. "Although it has long been a correlation between the presence of chromosomal translocations and the appearance of cancer cells," explains Bruschi, "so far it was not clear whether a translocation was the origin of cancer or whether, instead, it was a consequence. This is because we see patients when the cancer has already formed and in the cells already exists a particular translocation. In practice, these observations are made when it is too late to establish a relationship of cause and effect. "

The research was presented in Spain at the International Congress of the European Molecular Biology Organization (Embo) and published in the magazine Pnas. The potential is considerable: second Bruschi, studied in cells of animals, the Bit system could facilitate the development of new drugs. "Our next experiments", adds geneticist, "simulate yeast carcinogenic anomalies that occur in human leukemia. It is how we can assist live, provoking and observing the effects in the bud. "

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Comments for How a tumor is born

Yeast Cancer?

Seriously. Inducing "cancer" in yeast and claiming this proves how it happens in mammals is like choking your lawn mower with sand and claiming car troubles stem from too much sand in the tank.
posted by TobyF at Wednesday, July-09-2008 06:07am

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