Genotyping SMAD2

Baylor Brangers participated in the genotyping of the SMAD2 gene—a gene that suppresses the growth of tumors. Researchers in our laboratory think that this gene might play a role in the development of colorectal cancer in some patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—particularly ulcerative colitis.

Normally, the TGF-beta signaling pathway inhibits cell growth and promotes cell death (apoptosis) in the cells lining the colon. For reasons we do not understand, mutations within the SMAD2 gene produce proteins that "shut off" (inactivate) the signals from TGF-beta. When this happens, cells divide, grow, and survive indefinitely—a process that leads to cancer.

Though the findings have not yet demonstrated a definitive link between the SMAD2 gene and IBD-associated colorectal cancer, researchers are continuing their study of this intriguing hypothesis.

 

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