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Another piece of the puzzle that is breast cancer has been found by
University of Queensland researchers.
Dr Melissa Brown, from UQ's School of Molecular and Microbial
Sciences, and her team have discovered how a particular gene associated
with breast cancer behaves, which may lead to better testing for the
Dr Brown and Dr Juliet French at UQ, together with their colleagues
at The University of Oxford, studied the BRCA1 gene and found that it
exists in a looped formation.
"Our studies suggest that BRCA1 looks a bit like a bow when the gene
is switched off, and that part of this 'bow' disappears when the gene is
switched on," Dr Brown said.
"Interestingly, the shape of the bow changes in different breast
cancer cells, raising the possibility that this gene looping may
contribute to the cancer process."
She said ongoing studies would identify the specific DNA sequences
and DNA binding molecules involved in BRCA1 gene looping. "The status of
these sequences in a larger cohort of breast cancer patients will also
be determined," she said.
"This information may lead to more sensitive pre-symptomatic testing
for breast cancer and the identification of new therapeutic targets."
The research was recently published in the scientific journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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