In Spain, researchers have determined how a transcription factor known as Mirror regulates tumour-like growth in the intestines of fruit flies.
The scientists believe a related system may be at work in humans during the progression of colorectal cancer due to the observation of similar genes and genetic interactions in cultured colorectal cancer cells. The results are reported in the journal EMBO Reports
Colorectal cancer leads to more than half a million deaths worldwide each year. The disease originates in the epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal track mainly due to aberrations in the molecular signaling activities of cells.
"We have been able to use flies as a model system to study molecular events that are very similar to the steps that take place in colorectal cancer in humans and we have been able to use this system to identify new genetic regulations relevant to human disease," says Andreu Casali, lead author of the study and a research associate at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona.