Monday, March 24, 2008

Mayo Clinic cancer model to speed up drug research

[SOurce: Kate Nolan, The Arizona Republic] - Mayo Clinic Arizona scientists recently completed research that may speed development of new treatments for multiple myeloma, a common type of blood cancer.After a six-year effort, Mayo researchers in Scottsdale proved that a gene called MYC is instrumental in converting a benign tumor called MGUS into one that eventually becomes myeloma.A team of 12 scientists led by Dr. Leif Bergsagel were able to create a model of the disease in mice through genetic engineering. Bergsagel is a widely recognized authority on the genetic roots of the disease.

"This model helps us understand the genetic properties that lead to multiple myeloma and provides a framework for developing better therapies," Bergsagel said.Until this project, efforts to produce models that could genetically replicate the formation of myeloma had failed.

The model can streamline research in several ways.

• Scientists can observe the disease closely under various conditions.
• The model can identify the specific mutations that lead to cancer, which can help scientists better understand what's going on with patients.
• Researchers can test new treatments on real cancer cells, without human risk.

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