Thursday, June 04, 2009

Down syndrome may cure cancer

Yes, that is what I said. Read this post at Vive Christus Rex about what researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have done.
"Dr. Sandra Ryeom and colleagues at Children's Hospital Boston discovered that at least two proteins found in the extra 21 chromosome of Down syndrome could be instrumental in fighting Cancer."
She states on her website,
"One of the major projects in my lab has been to understand the role of a specific gene, the Down syndrome candidate region-1 gene or DSCR1, in protecting individuals with Down syndrome from cancer. This past year, we have used mouse models to validate our hypothesis that three copies of the DSCR1 gene, as is found in Down syndrome individuals with 3 copies of genes located on chromosome 21, does in fact help suppress the growth of tumors. Using transgenic mouse models and molecular and cell biological techniques, we also now know that DSCR1 blocks the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis) that would nourish the cancer cells allowing them to grow into large tumors. Therefore, the extra copy of DSCR1 acts to prevent tumor growth in Down syndrome individuals. We are currently focusing on determining whether the DSCR1 gene product can be used as a therapeutic option to prevent tumor growth in the non-Down syndrome population."
Dr Roger Reeves who is also researching with the mouse model of Down syndrome at Johns Hopkins has known this for some time. He alluded to this at his talk for NDSS at NYU this summer.
Here is a summary of his presentation from the NDSS website.
As part of the inaugural event of the National Down Syndrome Society's Education Series, Dr. Roger Reeves spoke on the topic of 'New Frontiers of Down Syndrome Research.' Dr. Roger Reeves is Professor in the Department of Physiology and a Core Faculty Member of the McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He earned his B.S. from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and his Ph.D. at University of Maryland, doing his thesis research at the National Cancer Institute. He went to Hopkins as a post-doctoral fellow in 1983 and began working on gene expression in Down syndrome almost immediately. He is noted for his contributions to the study of gene dosage effects using animal models to understand pathogenesis and human genetic studies to identify genetic modifiers that contribute to more or less severe presentation of Down syndrome. His laboratory is studying a possible therapeutic approach for DS features that occur in the brain. He recently discovered the basis for the reduced frequency of solid tumors in people with trisomy 21 and is using a pharmacologic approach based on this observation to reduce cancer incidence in all people.

Add this to the growing list of reasons why the 90% abortion rate of our beautiful children is an international tragedy. Perhaps God would have given us a cure for cancer much sooner if we had taken them seriously enough to let them live, and do this research to save their lives decades ago. When will the National Institute of Health give these researchers a fair share of it's funding to continue these projects which have the potential to help large populations?
Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers was with the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, pressuring the NIH to give some of it's stimulus package funding to such worthy projects.

1 comment:

Ria said...

It's incredible, isn't it? I blogged about it too. Just my little effort to spread the word.