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Thread: Nuclear Transfer shows Epigenics important to CURE research

  1. #1
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jacksonville, FL

    Nuclear Transfer shows Epigenics important to CURE research

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
    WASHINGTON (Reuters)

    July 31, 2004

    - A cloning experiment may show that the body itself has the ability to reverse cancer, U.S.-based researchers said on Saturday.
    They cloned mouse embryos from a melanoma skin cancer cell, and created healthy adult mice using some of the cloned cancer cells, showing that malignancy is not the inevitable fate of a cancer cell.
    "This settles a principal biological question," said Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch of
    the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the country's leading experts in cloning.
    He said while the genetic elements of cancer cannot be reversed, the epigenetics -- how the genes are actually turned on and off -- can be.

    ......Many researchers want to try similar experiments with human cancer cells, but the administration of President Bush (news - web sites) forbids the use of federal funds for such study because it would involve the creation of what is technically a human embryo.


    Note: Maggie may want to more correctly speak of an ovasome rather than an embryo.

    "Whatever else you do, come November 2nd, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research."- Ron Reagan Jr.

  2. #2
    It is important that we don't rush to judgment on this issue based on a single study. It is entirely possible that the nuclei that successfully "took" in the cloning procedures were highly selected and that the cancer genes were suppressed. There is a need for more studies before concluding that all or even most cancers are "epigenetic". There is a large body of evidence suggesting that cancer cells do have problems with specific genes. Wise.

  3. #3

    "This settles a principal biological question," says Jaenisch, who also is a professor of biology at MIT. "The epigenetic elements of cancer are reversible; the genetic elements, as expected, are not."

    Researchers have known for decades that cancer begins when certain key genes in an otherwise healthy cell mutate, and tumor growth depends on continuing, multiple mutations. But only recently have scientists begun to understand the "epigenetic" components of cancer-that is, how other molecules in a cell affect genes without actually altering the sequence of DNA. Many of these epigenetic components, such as methylation, can determine if a gene is silent or active.

    Konrad Hochedlinger and Robert Blelloch, postdoctoral researchers in the Jaenisch lab, studied whether any of these epigenetic influences can be reversed. First, they removed the nucleus from a melanoma cell and injected it into a de-nucleated egg cell (a process known as nuclear transfer). After the egg cell developed into a blastocyst, Hochedlinger and Blelloch harvested embryonic stem cells which they then incorporated into a group of healthy mouse blastocysts. Many of these blastocysts developed into normal adult mice. The work was reported in the August issue of the journal Genes and Development.

    "It's important to note," says Blelloch, "that the stem cells from the cloned melanoma were incorporated into most, if not all, tissues of adult mice, showing that they can develop into normal, healthy cells," such as those for skin pigmentation, immunity, and connective tissue. But in spite of this, when certain cancer-related genes in these mice were activated, they developed malignant tumors at a much faster rate than the control mice.

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