Research

Changes in Gene Contribute Independently to Breast and Ovarian Cancers

Defects in a key gene—long thought to drive cancer by turning off the protection afforded by the well-known BRCA genes—spur cancer growth on their own, according to a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center. The study gene, known as EMSY, has some of the same functions as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which have long been known to protect against breast and ovarian cancers when normal. When defective, BRCA genes block the body’s self-defense against cancer-causing genetic mistakes. The new study, published online in Oncotarget, helps to explain why some women with healthy BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes develop cancer. 
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Researchers Find New Way to Target Stem Cell-Driven Blood Cancers

A protein–sugar molecule, CD99, occurs more frequently than normal on stem cells responsible for blood cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the related myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). This is the finding of a study led by researchers from NYU Langone and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and published online in Science Translational Medicine. Building on this discovery, the study authors designed an antibody that recognizes and destroys CD99-covered leukemia cells while sparing normal blood stem cells. “Our findings not only identify a new molecule expressed on stem cells that drive these human malignancies, but we show that antibodies against this target can directly kill human AML stem cells,” says corresponding study author Christopher Y. Park, MD, PhD. Read more...