Duke-NUS study yields clues on tumours

SINGAPORE - Researchers at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School have peered into the brains of larval fruit flies, and found a protein complex which they say can disrupt a process known to promote tumour development.

In the process known as dedifferentiation, mature cells turn into abnormal neural stem cells, which undergo uncontrolled growth that eventually leads to the development of brain tumours. 

Assistant Professor Wang Hongyan conducted a study using the brains of fruit flies, and uncovered a protein complex which can prevent the formation of such ectopic neural stem cells. The flies' neural stem cells are similar to those of humans.

The discovery could shed light on inhibiting the tumour-development process, and could help with the development of future cancer therapies.

The research was published online in scientific journal eLIFE last Tuesday.

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