Researchers have identified new genes that are involved in pancreatic cancer. One of these genes, called Foxp1 contributes to cancer progression and is associated with metastasis. Now that it has been located, it will be easier to diagnose this cancer. This discovery provides new opportunities for improving the diagnosis and new therapeutic targets for the development of personalized treatments.
The study was the result of research with genetically modified mice. Technological innovation is that thanks to a mobile genetic element called transposon piggyback these mice can be configured to perform a specific type of cancer by avoiding suffering other tumors at the same time.
These findings offer new opportunities for improving the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer, identifying both alterations that correlate with aggressiveness of each tumor or the establishment of a specific subtype of cancer, and others that may offer new therapeutic targets for the development of personalized treatments.
In the study, the researchers created three types of mice developed cancer in the pancreas, liver or intestine specifically and then further studied mice with pancreatic cancer.
In addition to the involvement of Foxp1 in aggressiveness of these tumors, there was detected a new region of the genome important for controlling the CDKN2A gene, a tumor suppressor that is very frequently altered in pancreatic cancer in humans.