Scientists at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City have discovered 2 enzymes that control a form of gene regulation called DNA demethylation in vertebrates, a finding that might provide novel targets for preventing or slowing cancer growth (Rai K et al. Cell. 2008;135:1201-1212).
In studies in zebrafish embryos, the researchers identified a DNA demethylation process that involves the coupling of these 2 enzymes and a nonenzymatic factor. Defects in DNA methylation, a cellular process that shuts off genes that either aren't needed or are malfunctioning, can lead to the development of cancer and other diseases.
Friedrich MJ. Cancer Drug Target?. JAMA. 2009;301(5):477. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.41