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Stephan Emmerth

Stephan Emmerth

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report Life Sciences
Research (Img: Alex011973/shutterstock)

Research (Img: Alex011973/shutterstock)

22.03.2018

Basel scientists make cancer breakthrough

A team of researchers led by University of Basel professor Michael N. Hall has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The presence of the protein's genetic information in mice prevented the formation of tumors.

The incidence of liver cancer in Switzerland has almost doubled over the last 20 years, according to a statement from the University of Basel.

Liver tumors develop from mutated cells that grow and proliferate uncontrollably. While anti-cancer proteins prevent uncontrolled cell growth, these proteins are often defective in cancer cells.

The scientists in the team led by Professor Michael N. Hall of the Biozentrum at the University of Basel have now discovered a new anti-cancer protein.

This so-called tumor suppressor LHPP can influence both tumor growth and the life expectancy of cancer patients, as shown in an experiment on mice.

The research team activated a growth hormone in the liver to generate a mouse model for carcinoma. LHPP was present only in healthy tissue and the re-introduction of its genetic information prevented the formation of tumors and maintained liver function, according to the statement.   

Human patients with liver cancer also underwent testing with LHPP. The researchers found that disease severity and life expectancy correlated with LHPP levels. With complete loss of the tumor suppressor, cancer patients die on average two years earlier, noted the university.

Another benefit of the Basel discovery is that LHPP is useful as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.  

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