"Junk Chimeras" May Be Vital to Cancer, University of Virginia Study

Published: Jun 25, 2012

A previously unknown way genes fuse to form a “chimera” may play a crucial role in the growth of cancer tumors. The discovery by researchers at the University of Virginia may lead to better ways to track cancer’s progression and may offer therapeutic targets for both early- and late-stage prostate cancers. The findings, reported in the journal Cancer Discovery, upend the long-held belief that gene fusions commonly seen in cancer are produced solely through the rearrangement of chromosomes, which are bundles of genes. Researchers instead found that gene fusions in prostate cancer were being generated without chromosomal rearrangement. The question then became: How?

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