A single gene turns colorectal cancer cells back into normal tissue in mice

Lyra Nara Blog

A single gene turns colorectal cancer cells back into normal tissue in mice

Immunofluorescent images of intestinal organoid cultures. Gene silencing of Apc in intestinal organoids triggered a cancer-like response (left). Reactivation of Apc expression restored normal cell division (right). Credit: Kevin P. O’Rourke

Anti-cancer strategies generally involve killing off tumor cells. However, cancer cells may instead be coaxed to turn back into normal tissue simply by reactivating a single gene, according to a study published June 18th in the journal Cell. Researchers found that restoring normal levels of a human colorectal cancer gene in mice stopped tumor growth and re-established normal intestinal function within only 4 days. Remarkably, tumors were eliminated within 2 weeks, and signs of cancer were prevented months later. The findings provide proof of principle that restoring the function of a single tumor suppressor gene can cause tumor regression and suggest future avenues for developing effective cancer treatments.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death…

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