Recent studies at the Sydney Kimmel Cancer-Jefferson Health (SKCC) have shown that the circadian clock gene (CRY1) promotes tumor progression by altering DNA repair. The “circadian clock” in question is how our bodies’ processes synchronize with the day/night cycle and if it gets thrown off by things like lack of sleep, it can increase the risk of developing cancer. In late stage prostate cancer, CRY1 expression increases. This directly affects the availability of factors used for DNA repair. In fact, CRY1 has many roles in gene expression and body regulation that have yet to be fully explored. For this case, CRY1 expression is induced by the androgen receptor (a ligand-dependent transcription factor required for prostate cancer development and progression). Its high levels and role in DNA repair are what eventually lead to treatment-resistant prostate cancer. So, the next move is to figure out exactly what CRY1 does and how to block it in cancer cells.
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