Dundee University researchers are helping put the brakes on cancer after making a breakthrough into how the disease develops.
A study led by Dundee University, in collaboration with Bath University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene.
This has helped scientists to better understand how the gene combats the effects of mutations which drive cancer development.
Research shows how an enzyme called Dual-specificity phosphatase 5 suppresses tumour formation by ‘switching off’ an enzyme called ERK, which is involved in driving cell proliferation and survival.
Dundee University’s Professor Stephen Keyse, head of the Cancer Research UK Stress Response Laboratory at Ninewells Hospital, said: “We know quite a lot about the way cancer-causing genes get switched on and drive the abnormal growth seen in tumours, but far less about the ways that our cells can react to this and try and suppress the dangerous signals that oncogenes propagate.
“It does this by switching off ERK in the cell nucleus and preventing the expression of other genes, which act to change cellular behaviour and promote tumour growth.”