Updated on 30 July 2012
Mr Xin Hong, a PhD student and the co-first author of this paper, said, "We were very surprised by our finding because this it the first time that the Socs gene family is found to be linked to cancer. Previously it has only been associated with immunological disorders."
Dr Cohen added, "Though these studies are in the early stages, they are very promising. Already, there are indications that levels of SOCS5 expression are reduced in breast cancer, and patients with low levels of SOCS5 have poor prognosis."
The IMCB team is preparing to explore the use of SOCS5 as a biomarker in diagnosis for cancer.
Professor Wanjin Hong, executive director of IMCB, said, "This study sheds light on the complexities of cancer genetics and paves the way to accelerate development of personalised medicine in cancer care. It is a fine examples of how powerful genetic approach using the fly model can reveal molecular mechanisms underlying human cancer. More importantly, it shows how fundamental research can have far-reaching applications for potential clinical benefits."