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Gene Malfunction That Causes Breast/Ovarian Cancer Found
In three different studies, scientists have succeeded in isolating the ‘lengthy protein encoded by the BRCA2 gene’ that causes cancers, namely, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. By separating the protein from the rest of the body, scientists were able to study it more closely, therefore gathering more insight on it, and figuring out what exactly it does. Before, as the BRCA2 was such a large protein, it was difficult to see what the different parts of protein do, and how they work together to do it. The BRCA1 gene and the BRCA2 gene were discovered over a decade ago, but no one was sure what they did until now. It seems that the BRCA genes work as tumor-suppressors. Everyone has one, because abnormal cells pop up in everyone’s body. To prevent these cells turning into cancerous ones, the human body has many mechanisms to smooth out these abnormal cells. Usually, the BRCA gene would work to smooth out these cells instantly, and all would be well; however, sometimes the BRCA gene malfunctions, and this allows the possibly cancerous cells to turn into cancerous cells without anything to stop them from doing so. It seems that the BRCA2 (with consists of 3,418 amino acids) binds with another protein, RAD51, in a way so that it make sure that any anomalies in the DNA get fixed as soon as possible.
This article deals with biological issues, because the biology of the human body is discussed. The article further deals with biology be talking specifically about a protein in the human body that is supposed to deal with cells that could turn cancerous by smoothing out the anomalies in the specific cell. When malfunctioning, the protein that is supposed to protect such things can increase the risk of cancer.
Cancer is a highly important issue, which we should all care about, because of the death toll it has. In 2007, 13% of all deaths were cancer-related, with 7.6 million being killed by it. There is no definite cure for cancer, and people and their families continue to be affected by it, worldwide. Though finding out what the BRCA gene does isn’t exactly curing it, it could very well help scientists in finding a way to cure it. "The more we can understand where the defect is the more we can try to correct it. RAD51 could be a molecule that we could target to make DNA repair actually effective in BRCA patients," says Dr. Julia Smith, director of the Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program at NYU Cancer Institute in New York City. With this new information, doctors may be able to develop new treatments that target the malfunctioning genes more specifically.
Source: Gardner, Amanda. “Inner Working of Gene Tied to Breast, Ovarian Cancer Revealed.” US News. August 22, 2010.
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