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Gene-cancer link may aid treatment


Research by Agios Pharmaceuticals linking the mutated IDH1 gene to cancer is reported in the 22 November edition of the journal Nature.

It shows that mutated IDH1 produces a metabolite, 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG), which may contribute to the formation and malignant progression of gliomas, the most common type of brain tumours.

By showing that a metabolic enzyme such as IDH1 plays a role in cancer, it appears to reverse the previously held belief that IDH1 was non functional for tumour-causing activity.

The finding may also lead to treatments for brain and other cancers where IDH1 mutations are present by boosting new drugs that can target the IDH1 metabolic pathway.

The research, in a paper entitled Cancer-associated IDH1 mutations produce 2-hydroxyglutarate, identifies a new biomarker that may be used to develop a diagnostic.

Says Professor Lew Cantley, at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: “This has fundamentally changed our understanding of the field. Additionally, there is an easily measured metabolic biomarker that will help in the diagnosis and treatment of any related therapeutics that arise from this work.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009


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