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Cancer enzymes found in zebrafish study

  |   Dec. 24, 2008 at 3:34 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A study of zebrafish has revealed ways to potentially slow or prevent the onset of cancerous tumors, the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah says.

Using zebrafish that share genetics similar to humans, researchers discovered two enzymes that, when combined, could be involved in the earliest stages of cancer, the Salt Lake City-based Institute announced Wednesday.

Genetically manipulating the enzymes could lead to therapies that target tumors in their earliest stage, said David Jones, a senior director at Huntsman.

"We could conceivably reactivate a completely normal gene in a tumor cell -- a gene that could prevent the growth of a tumor if reactivated," Jones said.

The enzymes appear to trigger an "on-and-off switch" for genes that could could cancer and numerous other diseases and birth defects, said the research published in the Dec. 26 issue of Cell.

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