Novel Mitotic Checkpoint Gene
Wistar researchers have identified a new mitotic checkpoint gene, chfr, that is expressed in normal tissues but is either absent or mutated in many cancer cell lines. When dividing cells that express the wild-type chfr are exposed to nocodazole, which inhibits microtubule formation, they become arrested at prophase, while cells that lack a functional chfr gene proceed through the cell cycle and division.
The restoration of normal chfr function may be a useful target for cancer therapy. Loss of chfr function in tumor cells may be indicative of cancers that are sensitive to chemotherapy.
Since abnormal chfr is found only in cancer cells, it may be a target for development of new therapeutic agents or for gene therapy. Additionally, detection of chfr mutations may be useful for identifying cancers that are sensitive to certain chemotherapeutic agents, such as taxol.
U.S. Patent No. 7,176,293.
This technology is available for licensing on a nonexclusive basis.