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Scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a new molecular pathway that controls colorectal cancer development, and their exciting findings open new therapeutic opportunities.

Assistant Professor Sudhakar Jha, Principal Investigator at CSI Singapore, and his team found that TIP60 protein, a known cancer suppressor for breast and colorectal tumours, works with another protein, called BRD4, to suppress the expression of a group of genes called endogenous retroviral elements (ERVs). Also known as “jumping genes” in tissues, ERVs are capable of jumping across the genome during their replication. They can alter the sequences of other genes that encode proteins, and even result in mutations or changes in the genetic sequence. ERVs can also activate tissue inflammation which supports tumour growth.

TIP60 expression has been found to be greatly reduced in different tumour types, including breast, colorectal and human papillomavirus-induced cervical cancer.

“In our study, we found that in tissues with lower TIP60 protein presence, the jumping gene expression is uncontrolled and these tissues can develop an inflammatory response which, in turn, can cause tumours to form. This discovery of TIP60’s association with tissue inflammation is significant because it

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