Here are excerpts from a fascinating article from Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News:
For several decades, researchers have been linking genetic mutations to diseases ranging from cancer to developmental abnormalities. What hasn’t been clear, however, is how the body’s genome sustains such destructive glitches in the first place. Now a team of Mayo Clinic scientists and collaborators provide an unprecedented glimpse of a little-understood gene, called MMSET, revealing how it enables disease-causing mutations to occur…
The researchers found that normally-functioning MMSET is usually helpful. It plays a restorative role within the genome, recruiting proteins like p53-binding protein 1 to repair breaks that occur in DNA and to maintain genetic stability. But when MMSET malfunctions, the protective pathway falls short, and a cascade of mutations take place that can lead to disease processes…
Dr. Lou says. “But when the gene is impaired, cells don’t have the correct response to DNA damage.” Misregulation of MMSET has been implicated in cancers like the plasma cell cancer multiple myeloma as well as the inherited disorder of severe retardation known as Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, even though the MMSET mutation looks different in the two diseases.
“It may be that these cancers don’t respond well to chemotherapy treatment, which works by interrupting DNA, because the [MMSET producing] cancer cells are more efficient at repairing themselves…”
Future investigations may involve inhibiting MMSET in proliferating cancer cells, which may make cancers more responsive to cell-killing chemotherapies.
Bottom line: This discovery may help explain why it is so difficult to cure multiple myeloma, even after it initially responds to therapy.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat