The gene HER2 that is overexpressed in 20% of breast cancers increases the number of cancer stem cells, the cells that fuel a tumor’s growth and spread, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Herceptin – a drug used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer – targets and destroys the cancer stem cells.
According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences breast cancer cells secrete a common inflammatory protein, IL-8. When the the protein was blocked with an antibody, it completely stopped the spread of breast cancer to the lungs (this was in mice). They also found that the protein produced by the gene DACH1 blocks the production of IL-8 – DACH1 is commonly missing or inactive in invasive breast cancer
In a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry data is presented that suggests a particular variant of a gene involved in endorphin metabolism may result in women with this variant to be more susceptible to alcoholism.
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