We are rapidly demystifying cancers, exposing the molecular mechanisms underlying tumors and leading the search for the next generation of targeted cancer therapies. We see a future where every cancer and every patient has a cure.




Salk scientists uncover how high-fat diets drive colorectal cancer growth

Deaths from colorectal cancer in people under 55 are increasing. A new study led by Professor Ronald Evans, with first author Ting Fu and collaborators, suggests that high-fat diets fuel colorectal cancer growth by upsetting the balance of bile acids in the intestine and triggering a hormonal signal that lets cancerous cells thrive. The findings could explain why colorectal cancer is being seen in younger people growing up at a time when high-fat diets are common.

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Genes and Development

New role for a driver of metastatic cancers

Metastatic cancers are notoriously difficult to treat and often deadly. Professor Katherine Jones, first author Seung Choi and colleagues revealed a new role for a protein called CDK12. By analyzing the role of CDK12 in protecting cells from chemotherapy, the team discovered a new group of genes that controls cancer-cell metabolism. CDK12 works with another protein, mTORC1, to control the process of translation—an important step in creating a new protein within the cell. This finding points to a potential new metastatic drug target.

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New study targets achilles’ heel of pancreatic cancer

Advanced pancreatic cancer is often symptomless, leading to late diagnosis after metastases have spread throughout the body. Additionally, tumor cells are encased in a protective shield, a microenvironment conferring resistance to many cancer drugs. Professor Tony Hunter, first author Yu Shi and an international team of collaborators uncovered the role of a signaling protein, LIF, that may be a useful biomarker to help diagnose pancreatic cancer more quickly and efficiently than current screenings methods.

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