A team exploring genetic mechanisms in cancer has found evidence that a prevailing concept about how cells produce protein molecules, particularly when applied to cancer, could be erroneous as much as two-thirds of the time. Broad inadequacies in a widespread biological concept that affects cancer research could be significantly deflecting the aim of targeted gene-based cancer therapies, such as immunotherapies, according to their new study. The concept stems from common knowledge about the assembly line inside cells that produces protein molecules. It starts with code in DNA, which is transcribed to messenger RNA, then translated into protein molecules, the cell’s building blocks. According to the study, this assumption, that proverbial factory orders passed down the DNA-RNA line determine in a straightforward manner the amount of a protein being produced, proved incorrect 62 percent of the time.
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