Washington: Scientists claim to have identified a new genetic pathway impacting the spread of cancer cells in the body, a major finding which may pave the way for effective treatments for the disease. Regular cell division is regulated by methylation, a series of chemical changes. Methylation modifies DNA to ensure cells divide at a healthy, balanced rate. In cancer, the methylation process is unbalanced, causing cells to resist regulation and divide uncontrollably. Now, a team at Lawson Health Research Institute, led by Dr Joseph Torchia, analysed a hormone, called Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-?), and its effects on DNA methylation to reveal a pathway, using genetic sequencing, the `Molecular Cell` journal reported. When TGF-comes into contact with a cell it activates the tumour-suppressing gene, which stops the cells from dividing.
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