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Enzyme might help detect lung cancer


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BARCELONA, Spain, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona said that the enzyme AKR1B10 could serve as a good marker in the diagnosis and prognosis of lung cancer.

Scientists led by Xavier Pares said the enzyme is detected in large quantities only in lung cancers, particularly those caused by smoking and can appear even when the cancer hasn't developed and lesions are precancerous.

Pares said both the experiments using test tubes and cell cultures revealed that the enzyme lowers the levels of the most active form of vitamin A, or retinoic acid, a strong anticancerous agent. Retinoic acid is present in several biological processes -- from fetus development to cell proliferation and differentiation -- by controlling the expression of certain genes, Pares said. The identification of these structural elements makes it possible to create a specific design for drugs that may treat lung cancer.

The findings are published in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

United Press International

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