IMAGE: The growth of human colon cancer cells (raised in culture) is unaffected by the MELK gene. Top row: untreated cells; bottom row: cells treated with a MELK inhibitor drug…. view more
Credit: Sheltzer Lab, CSHL
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — About 10 years ago, several labs discovered that a gene called MELK is overexpressed, or turned on to a high degree, in many cancer cell types. This evidence has prompted multiple ongoing clinical trials to test whether drugs that inhibit MELK can treat cancer in patients. Now, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) researchers, led by CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer, report that MELK is not actually involved in cancer. or, NY —
Furthermore, Sheltzer and his colleagues suggest that the discrepancy with previous findings results from inherent flaws in the scientific techniques that have been used to link MELK to cancer.
“Our study is a good illustration of the self-correcting nature of science,” Sheltzer says.
Over the past few years, Sheltzer and Stony Brook University students Chris Giuliano and Ann Lin have been performing genomic analyses on tumors surgically removed from cancer patients. Their goal has been to identify genes whose activity levels are correlated with low patient survival
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