Scientists identify normal cells that can lead to cancer

08/11/2008 | Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The

Scientists working on mouse models were able link two types of normal neural cells to a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma, providing significant insights into the cause of cancers. The animal models were created by switching off the patched gene -- which plays a role in regulating cell development in the cerebellum -- in granule neuron precursors or in stem cells. The absence of the gene in GNPs led to tumor formation in all of the mice, while its absence in stem cells allowed most of the animals to form normal cell types in the cerebellum.

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