London: Normal cells in tumours can trigger the growth of tumour cells after losing a vital tumour suppressor gene, a new study has revealed.Led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), the study examined what happens when normal cells called fibroblasts in mouse mammary tumours lose an important tumour-suppressor gene called Pten (pronounced “P-ten”). The findings suggested new strategies for controlling tumour growth by developing drugs that disrupt the communication between tumour cells and the normal cells within the tumour.They also provided insight into the mechanisms that control the co-evolution of cancer cells and surrounding normal cells in tumours, and demonstrated how the Pten gene normally suppresses cancer development, the researchers say. “Our study is the first to define a specific pathway in tumour fibroblasts that reprograms gene activity and the behaviour of multiple cell types in the tumour microenvironment, including tumour cells themselves,” said co-principal investigator Dr. Michael Ostrowski, professor and chair of molecular and cellular biochemistry.
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