IMAGE: A microscopic image of gastric cancer cells (magenta), with dividing cells shown in green. view more
Credit: Image: Jun Low/Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
Melbourne researchers have made the surprise discovery that the ‘odd one out’ in a family of proteins known to drive cancer development is instead critical for preventing stomach cancers.
The research team showed switching off a gene called NF-κB1 caused spontaneous development of stomach cancers, driven by chronic inflammation. The study also revealed that immunotherapy may prove to be a significant tool for treating stomach cancers that are driven by runaway inflammation, warranting further investigation.
Dr Lorraine O’Reilly, Dr Tracy Putoczki and Professor Andreas Strasser from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, with Professor Steve Gerondakis from Monash University, led the research, published in the journal Immunity.
Stomach (gastric) cancers are relatively common in Australia, with around 2000 cases diagnosed each year. Twice as many men are affected as women and the disease is often not diagnosed until an advanced stage. Many stomach cancers develop as a result of uncontrolled inflammation over many years.
Dr O’Reilly said the finding was unexpected because previous research had shown that high – not low – levels of
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