The study was done by Nianli Sang, Ph.D., assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University and the Cardeza Foundation. It was initiated and led by Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Sbarro Institute and co-director of the Center for Biotechnology at Temple.

"We succeeded in cloning several related but distinct cDNA that encode for novel structure proteins,” says Giordano. "The identification of these clones shows that these genes are unique and that the major structure of these genes encodes for a region of our chromosome that is important to its structural maintenance. Therefore, this gene could be very important in controlling the backbone of our cells.”

Giordano says that their initial analysis shows that this family of genes sits mostly in the nucleus of our cells and exhibits the characteristics of a tumour-promoting gene. One form of the gene, NSP53, is highly expressed in some tumour cell lines and could be very useful as a tumour marker, he adds.

"Knowing the genetic status of this family of genes and understanding how the alteration of NSP can affect that genetic status could be a strong indicator of malignancy,” explains Giordano. "By analysing this gene, we may be able to predict the possibility of tumour growth.”

Giordano, who discovered the tumour-suppressing gene Rb2/p130 and others such as Cdk9 and Cdk10, says his Temple institute plans further study on the protein that is encoded by the gene. Next steps could include generating tools that would allow researchers to develop a more precise diagnostic test into whether the cells containing NSP are potentially tumorigenic.; Source: Temple University