Skin cancer protein identified in mice

25 May 2011

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Category: Research & medical benefits

test–tubes–scientist.jpgScientists have identified a protein that suppresses skin cancer in mice.

Researchers bred mice to lack a copy of the gene that makes the protein alpha-catenin. These mice developed a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.

Over 700,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year.

Researchers also discovered the mechanism by which alpha-catenin stops cancer growth. Alpha-catenin was found to control the activity of another protein called Yap1. If activated, Yap1 can cause cancer.

Researchers are now looking at possible ways to treat skin cancer by targeting the Yap1 protein.