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Make it Stop!

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A new study published in Nature shows that there is a gene, which is switched off in about 15 percent of pancreatic cancers, that may act as a "brake" to stop these tumors from growing, suggesting that a new class of drugs may be used to turn this gene back on in some aggressive pancreatic cancers, reports BBC News. The gene, USP9x, normally stops cells from dividing uncontrollably. Working with mouse models, the researchers found that the fault that causes the gene to be turned off is due to a defect in the chemical tags on the surface of the DNA, BBC says. "Drugs which strip away these tags are already showing promise in lung cancer and this study suggests they could also be effective [in pancreatic cancer]," study senior author David Tuveson, from Cancer Research UK, tells BBC. Co-author David Adams, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, adds that "this study strengthens our emerging understanding that we must also look into the biology of cells to identify all the genes that play a role in cancer."

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.