OCTOBER, 2003 – Circulation 3,491,000
Future Drug Target?
Breast Cancer’s On/Off Switch
BY Debra Dellapena
For 16 years, cancer researcher Patricia Berg, Ph.D., of George Washington University Medical Center, has studied a speck of DNA called the BP1 gene. Now her research may be paying off. Berg recently discovered that BP1 is activated in 80% of all breast cancers, making it the most common cancer gene in most breast cancers and a promising target for drug therapies.
While BP1 is present in all human DNA, it is usually inactive in breast tissue. But when cancer-causing mutations turn it on, the BP1 gene triggers out-of-control cell growth. Berg and her colleagues can turn off BP1 in lab studies. They are now developing a non-invasive blood test to detect BP1 activity, as well as a drug that represses the gene. She hopes studies in breast cancer patients will begin in a few years.
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"Your Breast Cancer Risk Now"
BY Carla Rolfing Levy
Recently, a team of researchers from several universities, led by Patricia Berg, Ph.D., at George Washington University, discovered a new genetic connection when they found that 80 percent of breast tumors tested positive for the BP1 gene, which is also linked to leukemia…