Meiotic gene expression in cancer
Cancer remains one of the main focus areas of translational research as it is predicted that 50% of the population will experience this disease at some point in their lifetime. Even though major progress has been made in cancer diagnosis and treatment it still remains the second leading cause of death with 8.4 million deaths recorded worldwide in 2012. Consequently, understanding the molecular mechanisms behind cancer development and progression is crucial for developing effective treatments and discovering valuable biomarkers.
Meiosis-associated proteins have not been explored in the context of cancer research as their expression is thought to be tightly controlled and restricted to meiotic cells. We have recently discovered that, contrary to accepted knowledge, a group of meiotic proteins is expressed in a variety of human cancer models. More importantly, our analysis of multiple large datasets of patient cancer samples reveals that these proteins are expressed in the majority of cancer patients and that their levels are predictive of cancer outcome and disease progression. Our work focuses on validating these meiosis-associated proteins as biomarkers in cancer stratification and determining their role in cancer progression. Identifying new oncogenes and pathways of carcinogenesis could provide novel therapeutic strategies.
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