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Understanding how cell division can go wrong and lead to cancer

  • Researcher: Dr Clemens Cabernard
  • Institution: University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Award Amount: £199,743 for 3 years from July 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Understanding how cell division can go wrong and lead to cancer
All of the information that our cells require is carried in long, sausage-shaped structures called chromosomes. When a cell divides to produce two new cells, it firstly has to copy all of its chromosomes and then give one complete set to each new cell. This process is very carefully controlled because if something goes wrong and one cell gets an incomplete or increased set of chromosomes it can make the cell malfunction - and in some cases can lead to it becoming cancerous. The location at which the cells start to divide in two plays a key role in this process. A molecule called GTPase RhoA plays a vital role in determining where on the original cell it will divide to form the new cells and this is what Dr Clemens Cabernard is investigating. This kind of basic research is very important as there is still much we don't know about how cancer occurs in the first place. Understanding the fundamental principles like how cell division goes wrong can make finding ways to stop cancer occurring much easier in the future.
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