Scientists find gene that inhibits pancreas cancer spread

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Scientists have identified a gene that slows the spread of pancreatic cancer tumours, paving the way for targeted treatment of one of the deadliest forms of the disease, said a paper published Sunday.

After discovering the gene dubbed USP9X at work in a study of pancreatic cancer in mice, the international research team found it also played a role in humans.

"We looked in human tumour specimens and we found that it was missing in a fraction of patients -- the patients that did very poorly " the people who died the fastest," researcher David Tuveson told AFP.

"Patients that had a low level of the gene expressed " they died very quickly after their operation and the patients who at the end of their life had lots of metastasis (spreading of the cancer), they had also a very low level of this protein."

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