NUS researchers discover novel protein complex with potential to combat gastric cancer

Scientists from the National University of Singapore's Cancer Science Institute have made a discovery that could help fight gastric cancer. 

They have found that a protein named I-L23-A is part of our stomach's defence against a bacterial infection which leads to gastric cancer. 

But for the body to produce the protein, it requires a gene called RUNX3.

RUNX3 is frequently "silenced" in gastric cancer. 

So, the scientists' next step would be to find ways of "re-activating" this gene. 

Professor Yoshi-aki Ito, who led the research team, says the ultimate goal is to boost the body's natural defences against cancer. 

"Virtually no drug can completely cure a cancer. It probably reduce the cancer development for a certain period, but then it would come on again. So, the most important thing in the future, seems to be, to prevent cancer development from the beginning."

Professor Ito says there is already a known method of reactivating RUNX3. 

But it is highly toxic, and therefore cannot be used on humans. 

So they are now trying to find a safe way to reactivate the gene.