Researchers from Cambridge have discovered a molecular “switch” that can turn off a highly virulent cancer of the ovary and the testis.
As reported in this Times of India article, scientists found that all malignant germ cell tumours, like the type which typically occurs in the testes and ovaries, contain large amounts of a protein called LIN28. This results in too little of a family of tiny regulator molecules called let-7 . In turn, low levels of let-7 cause too much of cancer promoting proteins in cells. The cancer-promoting proteins include LIN28 itself, so there is a vicious cycle that acts as an “on” switch to promote malignancy.
The researchers have likened these changes to a “cascade effect” , extending down from the large amounts of LIN28 to affect many properties of the cancer cells. They also discovered that by reducing the amount of LIN28 or by directly increasing the amount of let-7 , it is possible to reverse the vicious cycle. Cambridge scientists therefore identified the “on/ off ” switch and have published their findings in the journal Cancer Research.
Ovarian cancer has emerged as one of the most common malignancies affecting women in India. There is a communication report which talks about the trends in the incidence rate of ovarian cancer for Indian women) Testicular cancer usually affects young men (age -20-39) in their prime of youth but it known to have the highest cure rates among all cancers (>90%). It is most common in Caucasians and rare in men of African or Asian descent.
To read this article on The Times of India , please click here.
You can also read more about this research on the University of Cambridge website.