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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Researchers discover BRCA1 gene is key for blood forming stem cells (plus chemo side effects...)

Medical News Today

Researchers at from the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that the BRCA1 gene is required for the survival of blood forming stem cells, which could explain why patients with BRCA1 mutations do not have an elevated risk for leukemia. The stem cells die before they have an opportunity to transform into a blood cancer.
"One of the great mysteries in cancer research is why inherited mutations, such as those in BRCA1, cause cancer only in specific tissues such as the breast and ovaries, rather than in all tissues. Our data suggest a 'die or transform' hypothesis, which could explain this tissue specificity," said Dr. Theodora Ross, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Cancer Genetics Program at UT Southwestern.
Additional data from this study suggest these patients may have a tougher time with the side effects of chemotherapy.
"Patients with certain BRCA1 mutations may be at a higher than expected risk for serious complications during chemotherapy treatment," said Dr. Ross, who holds the Jeanne Ann Plitt Professorship in Breast Cancer Research and the H. Ben and Isabelle T. Decherd Chair in Internal Medicine in Honor of Henry M. Winans, Sr., M.D. "If we confirm these clinical findings in upcoming studies, giving patients preventative antibiotics or growth factors may be necessary to lower this increased risk of treatment side effects.".......

 Article: Distinct Brca1 Mutations Differentially Reduce Hematopoietic Stem Cell Function, Victoria E. Mgbemena, Robert A.J. Signer, Ranjula Wijayatunge, Travis Laxson, Sean J. Morrison, Theodora S. Ross, Cell Reports, doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.075, published 24 January 2017.


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