Cancer treatment could be improved by the discovery of a gene that has a vital role in cancer development.
Scientists at the Fox Chase Cancer Center made the findings while conducting a study that is to be published in the July 31st issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Their research discovered that the gene DLX5 is needed for the oncogene MYC to be expressed.
With MYC inactive in adults, it is hoped that the newly-identified gene could prove instrumental in future anti-cancer drug trials.
Co-author of the study professor Joseph Testa commented: "While MYC has a definite role in cancer, MYC also has an important place in the normal functioning of cells, so it may be difficult to target without killing healthy cells.
"DLX5, however, is not generally active in healthy adult cells, so it represents a much more 'druggable' target for cancer inhibition."
A report recently published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer has found that using a sunbed does increase an individual's chance of developing skin cancer.