UK scientists discovered WWP2 gene that can stop cancer growth


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death.  In most cases cancer is treated by chemotherapy and/ or in combination with radiation.  Researchers have been trying to understand the cause of cancer, mechanism and the agents responsible for spread of cancer cells.  Researchers at the University of East Anglia discovered a “rogue gene” that aids the spread of cancer to the body. Furthermore, the researchers believe that blocking growth of this gene by developing suitable drug can stop the growth of cancer in early stages.

Metastasis is a critical late stage of cancer, wherein cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. The research published in journal Oncogene on Monday revealed that gene called WWP2 is an enzymic bonding agent found inside cancer cells.  This gene attacks and breaks down a naturally-occurring protein in the body which normally prevents cancer cells from spreading.

Researchers confirmed this in the lab, wherein blocking WWP2 found to boost the levels of the natural inhibitor protein and the cancer cells being dormant.

Andrew Chantry of UEA’s school of biological sciences, who led the research, commented that “The challenge now is to...

identify a potent drug that will get inside cancer cells and destroy the activity of the rogue gene.” 

The researchers are positive that in next decade this finding can result in development of break through drug which should have capability to deactivated WWP2 gene.  Chantry said his team is now working with other scientists to try to design a drug which could interrupt the gene’s activity.

The findings of the UAE research team regarding WWP2 gene is a break through for cancer patients.  It almost seems like they have struck gold. I hope the results continue to show promise in future studies and lead to development of appropriate drug.


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