A group of researchers have discovered the key gene involved in the formation of Ferguson-Smith disease.
This disease is also known as multiple self-healing squamous epithelioma (MSSE) and is a type of skin cancer that grows rapidly, but heals by itself within a few weeks.
The international team of researchers at the University of Dundee identified the gene TGFBR1 and will now hoping to find how the faults in the gene cause the cancer and the initiate the healing process.
The gene initially acts in a preventive mode, stopping the growth of the tumors but later on actively starts to promote the spread of the cancer cells. The researchers found that those who have faulty TGFBR1 develop a number of small tumors but after some time, the tumors that lack the gene naturally heal themselves.
"This intriguing research provides an important insight into the various ways that cellular machinery can get messed up - which can then cause different types of cancer. This finding adds to thousands of discoveries being made by our world-class scientists every year", Cancer Research UK's Dr Lesley Walker said.