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Cancer May Be Prevented By Controlling Organ Size

Scientists at Johns Hopkins recently discovered that a chemical chain reaction that controls organ size in animals ranging from insects to humans could mean the difference between normal growth and cancer. The study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of Cell, describes how organs can grow uncontrollably huge and become cancerous when this chain reaction is perturbed.

"This chain reaction, a domino-like chain of events we call the Hippo pathway, adds a single chemical group on a protein nicknamed Yap," says lead author Duojia Pan, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular biology and genetics. "The good news is that maybe all organ growth can be reduced to this one chemical event on the Yap protein -- but the better news is that we potentially have a new target for cancer therapy."

Pan and colleagues previously had discovered in fruit flies that too much Yap supercharges growth-inducing genes and causes organs to overgrow.

Click here to see the rest of this article in Medical News Today


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