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Research Team Led by Dean of NTU College of Medicine Dr. Pan-Chyr Yang Unveiled New Mechanism of Cancer Suppressor Genes, Results Published in Nature Cell Biology

With the funding support from the National Genomic Medicine Program (including the Department of Health's "Lung Cancer Genomics Research and Clinical Application Program and National Science Council's Core Facilities Program), a research team led by academician of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Academia Sinica and Dean of NTU College of Medicine Dr. Pan-chyr Yang, and comprised of Associate Professor Tze-Ming Hong from Cheng Kung University's College of Medicine, Professor Huey-Kang Sytwu of the National Defense Medical Center, and Dr. Suping Wang, unveiled the new mechanism of how cancer suppressor gene p53 affected the transfer of cancer cells. Aside from being an achievement in basic cell biology research, the regulatory path affected by p53 also received authentication from the clinical samples of lung cancer, confirming that this new discovery is a major mechanism for the transfer of lung cancer cells, and also an important means of treating lung cancer. In the future, this important discovery will solve the mystery of cancer, and can be applied to the treatment of lung cancer patients and the development of new drugs. The results of this discovery was put into a thesis which further discloses the new mechanism of how cancer suppressor gene p53 affected the transfer of cancer cells and opens up new avenues for the prevention and treatment of human tumor diseases. The said thesis was published in the international renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology."

Dean Pan-chyr Yang points out that, in the course of human struggle with cancer, cancer suppressor gene p53 occupies an important position. P53 is related to more than 50% of human cancers, including: liver, lung, stomach, esophagus, colon, ovarian, bladder, breast, and prostate, etc. All the scientists in the world hope that by enhancing the understanding of the functions and regulations of p53, the mystery of cancer can be solved and the road to cure can be found.

Through long term observation, the research team found that in normal cells, P53 and its downstream molecule MDM2 could regulate the carcinogenetic molecular Slug, and change the stability of the Slug protein through the formation of a P53-MDM2-Slug complex, which could inhibit the invasion and metastasis ability of the cancer cells. However, once the p53 gene becomes mutant, the mutant p53 gene will lose its ability to control the stability of the Slug protein, and the Slug protein will continue to accumulate within the cancer cells, allowing the cells to have great powers of invasion and metastasis, resulting in the metastasis of tumor to other parts of the body.

Dr. Pan-chyr Yang also points out that, in addition to being a research achievement in basic cell biology, the p53-MDM2-Slug regulatory path has been authenticated in the clinical lung cancer samples, confirming that this new discovery is very likely the major mechanism for the formation and metastasis of lung cancer, and also an important means to treat lung cancer. In the future his research team will be devoted to the research and development of new drugs for the treatment of lung cancer patients based on this discovery.

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