Researchers from Northwest University have identified a gene that is associated with the development of an aggressive sub-type of small-cell lung cancer, the "P" type. This type of cancer is almost impossible for traditional treatment. Work will help create new treatments.
Although small-cell cancer accounts for no more than 15 per cent of all lung cancers, it often leads to rapid tumor growth, early metastasis and resistance to treatment, with individual subtypes associated with different factors and requiring alternative treatments, researchers say.
In their work, they used CRISPR to screen the entire genome of cancer patients to determine the possible causes of the disease. They were able to identify the POU2AF2 gene, which is responsible for the synthesis of protein associated with the development of the incurable small-cell cancer of the light subtype "P".
Researchers removed this gene in the cells of small cell lung cancer in vitro and in the cells of lab mice, both of which failed to survive and the tumor completely collapsed.
The problem is that the treatment of small-cell lung cancer has remained relatively constant for a long time and relies mainly on chemotherapy, as noted by scientists, and the use of such drugs often results in resistance in cancer cells . Knowing the key target, researchers plan to develop drugs that will disrupt gene-specific work, preventing tumor development.