Washington: Scientists have discovered that a protein - which is abnormal or absent in many cases of breast cancer - turns off genes that spread the tumour.Researchers from University of California - San Francisco found that the spread of breast cancer to distant organs within the body appears in many cases to involve the loss of a key protein.The protein, known as GATA3 normally acts downstream in biochemical pathways to prevent metastasis, the distant spread of cancer.The discovery points to a biochemical control point that simultaneously holds in check several key events required for tumour cells to successfully spread."When GATA3 is present, it turns off many genes that are active in metastasis. We now have identified the molecular mechanisms involved," said lead researcher Zena Werb.The key finding of the new study is that GATA3 acts downstream biochemically to activate a molecule - obscure until now - called microRNA29b.MicroRNA29b in turn stops protein production from other genes that play vital roles in metastasis.
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