P&S Journal: Winter 1997, Vol.17, No.1
Inhibiting Cancer Cell Growth
C ancer is a disease characterized by defects in growth control. Now P&S researchers describe a gene that may be a ubiquitous inhibitor of cancer cell growth. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Paul B. Fisher, senior author and professor of clinical pathology, director of neuro-oncology research, and the Chernow Research Scientist in pathology and urology, reports that mda-7 is a potent growth-suppressing gene in cancer cells of diverse origin, including breast, central nervous system, cervix, colon, prostate, skin, and connective tissue.
Cancer cell growth and survival were reduced when mda-7 was expressed in all cancer cells studied. These include cancer cells with multiple genetic defects. In contrast, normal cell growth was unchanged following expression of mda-7. These findings suggest that mda-7 may represent a new class of cancer growth-suppressing genes with antitumor activity. The selective inhibitory effect of mda-7 on cancer cells provides a basis for the use of mda-7 in gene-based therapy of cancer.