DLX1 Gene to Treat Prostate Cancer

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    • Researchers at the IIT, Kanpur discovered a particular gene (DLX1) that have an important role to play in the growth and development of prostate cancer.
      • The DLX1 gene has an important role in the development of jaws, skeletons, and interneurons in the brain.

    About the study 

    • Androgen receptor is responsible for promoting the development of prostate cancer.
    • About 50% of prostate cancer harbour an aberrant gene which is a product of two genes (TMPRSS2 and ERG) being fused together and results in the production of higher levels of ERG protein.
    • Exploring the association between these important factors revealed that about 96% of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer patients show high levels of DLX1 protein as well. 
      • About 70% of the patients with high androgen receptor signalling also have elevated DLX1 protein levels.
      • DLX1 protein has a huge role in the growth and development of the tumour and the spread of cancer to other organs in the body (metastasis).
    • The researchers have further shown that both androgen receptor and fusion gene product, ERG, are responsible for increased levels of DLX1 in prostate cancer cells. 
    • They found that a particular protein (Bromodomain and extra terminal or BET) assists the function of both androgen receptors and ERG. 
      • They found that if the BET protein is inhibited using small molecules, the function of both the androgen receptor and the ERG protein to upregulate DLX1 gets inhibited. 
      • As a result, the expression of the DLX1 protein and its tumorigenic potential is reduced.

    Prostate Cancer

    • Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and can then spread to other areas of the body. 
      • The malignant tumours are called cancer. 
    • Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control. 
      • The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.
    • The prostate is below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. 
    • The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the centre of the prostate.
    • Prostate cancer cells have a tendency to metastasize in bones. 

    Image Courtesy: Cancer.org

    • The size of the prostate can change as a man ages. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.
    • Androgen receptor is responsible for promoting the development of prostate cancer. Also, about 50% of prostate cancer harbour an aberrant gene which is a product of two genes (TMPRSS2 and ERG) being fused together and results in the production of higher levels of ERG protein.

    Source: TH