UNC study finds cancer gene family member functions key to cell adhesion and migration
While cancer researchers are learning more of WTX and how its loss contributes to cancer formation, virtually nothing is known of FAM123C or FAM123A, the latter of which is a highly abundant protein within neurons, cells that receive and send messages from the body to the brain and back to the body. A UNC-led team of scientists used sophisticated technologies to identify and describe the protein interactions that distinguish each member of the WTX family. They found that unlike WTX and FAM123C, FAM123A interacts with a specific set of proteins that regulates cell adhesion and migration, processes essential to normal cell functioning and which, when mutated, contribute to human diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.