Special Lab Mice Develop Prostate Cancer That's Much Closer to The Kind Men Get
Volume 9, Winter 2013
Oncologist Bill Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and The Marion I. Knott Professor of Oncology, has been studying an enzyme called GST P1 (glutathione S-transferase π) for more than a decade. In fact, it is due to his pioneering work, done with colleagues Angelo De Marzo, Bill Isaacs, and others, that we know so much about why this enzyme is so important in the development of prostate cancer. GST P1 is a genetic "fire extinguisher" that cleans up toxins in cells. It takes dangerous free radicals – produced by many of the foods we eat – and turns them into harmless, water-soluble products preventing the ravages of oxidative damage.
learned about GSTP 1, they
have not been able to study
it in the laboratory as effectively
as they wanted to – until now..
GST P1 is also one of the first lines of defense to be knocked out in prostate cancer. Without GST P1's damage-controlling effects, cancer has a far easier time taking hold and overpowering the body's ability to fight it. As much as scientists have learned about GST P1, they have not been able to study it in the laboratory as effectively as they wanted to – until now. "We have created a strain of mouse that has human GST P1 genes," says Nelson. "These are the genes that direct the production of enzymes that protect normal cells against cancer-causing chemicals, including those that appear in overcooked meats, and against oxidative damage." Nelson and colleagues Matthew Vaughn, Debika Biswal-Shinohara, Nicole Castagna, Jessica Hicks, George Netto, Angelo De Marzo, Traci Speed, Zachery Reichert, Bernard Kwabi-Addo, Colin Henderson, C. Roland Wolf, and Vasan Yegnasubramanian recently published this research in the journal, PLoS One.
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