Colon cancer is on the rise in the United States, and right now, it is the second deadliest cancer in the country. We have only been learning about the colon, and the cancers related to it for the last few years, but researchers and scientists are really studying hard to keep up with this cancer’s growth rate. We have had some encouraging discoveries and breakthroughs with a lot of recent studies on colon cancer and the prevention and treatment of it. Unfortunately though, some studies only reveal that colon cancer has found another way to get ahead. However, researchers can usually pinpoint some solution for the problem that helps to fight colon cancer.
One of these recent studies has revealed that a gene they found a while ago which scientists have always thought was harmless is now linked to colon cancer! The research was conducted by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and the scientists involved performed a few different tests which all showed that the gene, CDK8, is linked to colon cancer. This study really only scratched the surface of research on genes that affect cancer, and it was only recently that certain tools were developed specifically for examining cancer genes. The leaders in the study say that there will be a lot more research into other kinds of genes and their links to cancer now that researchers have these tools to work with.
Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute noticed that although a lot of cancer proteins are usually not affected by any cancer treatment drugs, the CDK8 gene is affected, and it can pass these affects onto the cancer cells. The main focus of the study was on a protein called beta catenin, which is found to be overactive in almost all kinds of colorectal cancers.
The scientists who conducted the study did some overlapping tests, to see how they could control the powerful protein. They had already determined that the best way to target beta catenin was through a gene, but they weren’t sure which gene would be able to do the most cancer fighting work. When they had completed the tests, and looked at the overlapping results that came out, the answer was very clear. The CDK8 gene stood out on all of the tests, and they are now looking into different treatments and therapies that the gene will be able to pass on to the cancer causing protein.
In the meantime, try to prevent colon cancer by eating right, getting regular exercise, (which means at least 30 minutes 3 times a week!) and making sure to get to any colonoscopy appointments. Colonoscopies are not very comfortable to go through, but if you are at a higher risk of getting colon cancer, a colonoscopy can potentially save your life. You can also help the cause by supporting colon cancer research. The more support and money scientists have to work with, the more research they can do, and the more research they do, the more breakthroughs in cancer treatments become available to us.