Fighting Cancer

Michael Rodio | Dec. 3, 2013 | Harper Cancer Research Institute

Tracy Vargo-Gogola

Cancer’s origin point—a human gene gone haywire—is, in many cases, also its weak spot. If you could block the abnormal function of a gene that is important for metastasis, the theory goes, then maybe you can stop cancer from spreading.

But there’s a catch—hit the weak spot with too much force, and you could trigger a cascade of side effects that may be as bad as the original cancer.

In her research, Tracy Vargo-Gogola, assistant professor of biochemistry & molecular biology at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend and adjunct assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame,  faces this problem every day. Vargo-Gogola, a breast cancer researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, studies a gene called CDC42. The CDC42 gene is overactive in a type of breast cancer called invasive ductal carcinoma, which comprises 75 to 80 percent of breast cancers. CDC42 is active in other types of cancers as well.

Read more at the Harper Cancer Research Institute

 by Daily Domer Staff

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