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April 03, 2008 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-04-03

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Health & Fitness

Unlocking A
Medical Door

Israeli discovers cancer's
molecular trigger.

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April 3 •



breast cancers. The fact that the same
mechanism appears in all these can-
cers indicates that we may have found
Ramat Gan, Israel
an important molecular junction
where normal tissues turn cancerous."
Nir's conclusions about what turns
lthough the exact cause of
cancer on were reached using genetic
cancer remains a mystery,_
techniques that allowed him to deac-
scientists have learned a
tivate the Fer enzyme. "We've shown
great deal about it in the past few
that without the enzyme, the prolifera-
decades by looking at the molecular
tion of prostate carcinoma cells in tis-
level. Professor Uri Nir, vice dean of
sue culture is halted. We've had simi-
Bar-Ilan University's life sciences fac-
larly encouraging results using breast
ulty, has discovered a "smoking gun"
and colon cancer cells:' reports Nir.
— an enzyme
His group
that, in several tis- "We've shown that
recently discovered
sue types, plays a
that down-regula-
without the enzyme, the tion of Fer inhibits
pivotal role in the
onset and progres- proliferation of prostate
the progress of
sion of cancer.
prostrate tumors in
carcinoma cells in tissue animals.
"In normal
tissues, there's a
Nir's work pro-
culture is halted."
balance between
vides a clear target
signals that cause
- Uri Nir, Bar-Ilan University to develop new
cells to replicate
anti-cancer drugs.
and other signals
"We are looking for
that arrest growth and program cell
a compound that can bind to the Fer
death;' Nir explains.
enzyme and prevent it from interact-
"In cancer, this balance is tipped so
ing with other molecules;' he says,
that cells start to replicate uncontrol-
adding that he is working on a robotic
lably. It turns out that an important
technique to screen for potential Fer
regulator of this 'tipping point' is an
inhibitors, making the whole process
enzyme called Fer.
faster than conventional drug discov-
"In our lab, we've identified a Fer-
based process that occurs only in
"If we are successful, it may be pos-
abnormal cells:' he says. "This process
sible to use the molecule we find to
is required for the proliferation of
`short-circuit' the process that leads to
abnormal cells in colon, prostate and
cancer." ❑

Jerusalem Post

New Bladder Cancer Test
Detroit-based Henry Ford Hospital is
offering a new bladder cancer lab test
that may detect bladder cancer recur-
rence up to six months sooner than
current diagnostic methods.
The UroVysionft Bladder Cancer test
is used to help doctors diagnose blad-
der cancer in patients who have blood
in their urine and to monitor patients
already known to have bladder cancer.
This test is an important tool to help
diagnose and monitor patients with
bladder cancer because when found
and treated early, the chances for sur-
vival are very good.

The National Cancer Institute esti-
mates that 68,800 new cases of blad-
der cancer will be found in the United
States during 2008 and 14,000 people
will die of this disease. Bladder cancer
is more common among men than
women and more common among
whites than blacks.
The cancer test is used to detect too
many copies or abnormalities of cer
tain chromosomes, which can suggest
that the cells are cancerous and that
bladder cancer is present.
For information about the test, call
Henry Ford's Department of Medical
Genetics, (313) 916-3178.

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