Ann Conkle
Apr 30, 2012

Potential new treatment for pancreatic cancer

Scientists have found a promising new target for drugs to treat aggressive pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in Nature. Researchers from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute showed, in human cancer cells and mice, that a gene called USP9x is switched off through chemical tags on the DNA’s surface in some pancreatic cancers. This gene may be faulty in about 15 percent of pancreatic cancers. Existing drugs, which strip away these chemical tags, could be an effective way of treating these cancers. The placement of the chemical tags may also explain why the gene has not been identified in previous genetic studies, which have focused only on detecting changes in the sequence of the DNA.