Currently, there are 1.6 million people suffering from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and in the United States, that number is rising on a yearly basis. Colon cancer is another intestinal related disease, which is responsible for a high number of deaths. The disease is linked to genetic disposition and diet.
However, we need to understand colon cancer more and a new study on mice has achieved just that. The field of biology already understands that two transcription factors play a big role in colon cancer, which are P1-HNF4-alph and P2-HNF4-alpha – we’ll name them P1 and P2. They are both isoforms of each other and how they contribute to colon cancer, including their distribution in the gut, is unknown.
Fortunately, a team of researchers from the University of California has studied the levels of P1/P2 in mice and what distribution levels are best to avoid colon cancer. Both isoforms are important for the proper functioning of the gut, and to avoid an unhealthy distribution certain foods must be avoided. Figuring out what these foods are will be the subject of future studies.
These studies have created a potential pathway to dealing with colon cancer as Karthikeyani Chellappa, the author of the research paper and a former postdoctoral researcher in Sladek’s lab, explains: “Our study also suggests that finding a drug to stabilize one isoform should be more effective than targeting both isoforms for treating colitis and colon cancer.”
View more information on this study here.