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Role of Hunk and Punc in Breast Cancer and Mammary Development

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Annual rept. 15 Jul 1999-14 Jul 2000

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Major insights into the molecular mechanisms of cancer have been obtained by studies of a family of regulatory molecules known as protein kinases. Many protein kinases serve as relays for signals in the cell that regulate normal growth and cellular function. In addition, several members of this family of molecules have previously been shown to be involved in the development of breast cancer in humans. Indeed, the increased activity of some of these molecules has been shown to correlate with aggressive tumor behavior and poor clinical outcome ibn women with breast cancer. We have cloned two novel protein kinases, Hunk, and Pnck, that are turned on in the breast during specific stages of pregnancy, and that appear to be turned on to different degrees in different subgroups of breast cancer. Our preliminary observations suggest that these genes may represent valuable biological markers in diagnosing cancer, in predicting the biological behavior of breast cancer, or in understanding the causes of breast cancer in humans. As such, we believe that continued study of these molecules may yield novel insights into those cell types in the breast that are most susceptible to carcinogenesis, and into those pathways in the cell that regulate growth.

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  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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