Oncology & Cancer

Solving the mystery of a stubborn, and common, cancer gene

One of the major successes of decades of cancer research has been the development of drugs that specifically inactivate oncogenes, genes that function abnormally, causing cells to behave erratically, become malignant and ...

Oncology & Cancer

Tissue physics plays a key role in tumor growth

Cancer is a difficult disease to treat and to study, and can be caused by a range of genetic mutations. For instance, the mutated RAS gene causes a loss of structure in so-called epithelial tissue, a tissue type that lines ...

Oncology & Cancer

Uncovering epigenetic mechanisms regulating glioma growth

Northwestern Medicine investigators have discovered the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of multiple oncogenes in glioma cells, mechanisms that promote overall glioma tumor growth and resistance to therapy, ...

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An oncogene is a gene that has the potential to cause cancer. In tumor cells, they are often mutated or expressed at high levels. An oncogene is a gene found in the chromosomes of tumor cells whose activation is associated with the initial and continuing conversion of normal cells into cancer cells.

Most normal cells undergo a programmed form of death (apoptosis). Activated oncogenes can cause those cells that ought to die to survive and proliferate instead. Most oncogenes require an additional step, such as mutations in another gene, or environmental factors, such as viral infection, to cause cancer. Since the 1970s, dozens of oncogenes have been identified in human cancer. Many cancer drugs target the proteins encoded by oncogenes.

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