Researchers find new lung cancer biomarkers

According to the cancer stem cell theory, cancer stem cells or tumor-initiating cells promote tumor growth and metastasis. A team of Singaporean researchers have linked the stem cell surface biomarker CD166 with lung cancer and discovered an enzyme biomarker that could be a potential drug target.

The researchers used the discovery of CD166, a protein previously associated with colon cancer stem cells, to link the gene coding for glycine decarboxylase (GLDC) with lung cancer, which they believe is the first gene that has been connected with lung cancer. GLDC is found at low levels in healthy cells, but its increase is thought to play a part in the transformation from healthy cell to cancer cell.

"The discovery of the biomarker has profound implications in cancer diagnostics and stratified medicine. It is hopeful that the metabolic enzyme GLDC will be a good target for drug development by the pharmaceutical industries," said Dr. Huck Hui Ng, acting executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore.

While discovering "a gene for XXX" isn't the cure-all that perhaps we once thought it would be, it can at least be another piece in the puzzle of understanding the biology of disease, bringing researchers and physicians a small step closer.

- read the press release
- check out the abstract