Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune Updated: February 6, 2013 - 12:09 PM
Discovery of the enzyme believed to be involved in the majority of breast cancer cases could pave the way for new treatments.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota say they have discovered an enzyme that could play a key role in causing the majority of cases of breast cancer.
The discovery, reported Wednesday in the prestigious journal Nature, could pave the way for new ways of diagnosing and treating breast cancer, said Reuben Harris, an associate professor and biochemist who led the research.
The researchers found that an enzyme called APOBEC3B is the "probable source" of DNA mutations that are found in the majority of breast cancer cases.
"Hopefully, it will allow cancer researchers to develop new treatment approaches that can prevent these mutations before they become harmful," said Harris, who is a researcher at the university's Masonic Cancer Center.
The scientists said that the enzyme appears to supply "genetic fuel" for cancer development, and could turn into "a new marker for breast cancer and a strong candidate for targeted intervention."