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Link Between Liver Cancer, Human Imprinting Gene Discovered
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Scientists with the Chinese National Human Genome Center have discovered a close interrelation between liver cancer and the gene DLK1.

Dr. Huang Jian and Zhang Xin, who headed the research, said they found a significant occurrence of the DLK1 gene in tissues of the hepatocellular carcinoma and concluded it was involved in the formation of liver cancer.

The discovery was made after the scientists analyzed 82 liver cancer specimens. The imprinting gene showed a remarkable up-regulation in 73.2 percent of the specimens, Huang said, adding that DLK1 had not been found in healthy liver cells.

He said the discovery may make DLK1 a new index for liver cancer diagnosis in future. In addition to existing diagnostic measures, new DLK1-based technologies were expected to raise the accuracy of the diagnosis.

The scientists at the Shanghai-based center also found the reduction of DLK1 activity can apparently check the reproduction of liver cancer cells.

(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2006)

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