Rutgers Researchers Find a Possible ‘Smoking Gun’ for Prostate Cancer
Findings provide potential new directions for the detection and prevention
For Ah-Ng Kong, Glaxo Professor of Pharmaceutics at Rutgers’ Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, the best cure for cancer is to prevent it in the first place. The tools for doing that, he says, lie all around us – in our fields, forests, produce markets, and spice drawers. In the past five years, he and his colleagues have demonstrated that substances as common as broccoli sprouts and turmeric can stop tumors in mice before they get started.
In the January 2010 issue of PLoS One, Kong and his co-authors report that they have figured out how a gene that normally protects against prostate cancer in mice, and potentially in humans, works.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed About 32,050 men will die of prostate cancer About one man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his
lifetime. More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
Although previous studies have indicated that adding chemicals found in plants to the food of laboratory mice can inhibit and prevent the formation of prostate cancer tumors, researchers have not been sure how it occurs or why it happens because they did not know how tumors got started in the first place.
Kong and his colleagues think they may have the answer. They believe that the gene that blocks formation of tumors and prevents the development of prostate cancer is turned off in those that develop the disease. Their research indicates that because of a process known as methylation, genes that are supposed to suppress tumors are silenced, preventing the protein that normally would inhibit tumor growth from doing its job.
The researchers said they have discovered the strand of DNA where the source of the gene suppression is located and believe this discovery will provide new direction for the detection and prevention of prostate cancer.
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