University Of Colorado Logo The American Cancer Society believes that colon cancer is the third most common cancer among Americans. Well, experts from the University of Colorado Cancer Center have highlighted an enzyme that can be used to identify colon cancer in advance. This enzyme can seemingly serve as hallmark to restrict cancer.

The enzyme biomarker may assist physicians to recognize colon cancer at a prior stage. Scientists examined colon cancers among 40 patients and observed a form of this ALDH1B1 enzyme present in each colon cancer cell among 39 individuals. This enzyme, generally spotted in stem cells, was apparently detected at extremely elevated levels.

Cancer Center investigator David Orlicky, PhD, associate professor of pathology at the CU medical school and a member of the research team commented, “Other potential colon cancer biomarkers have been identified in the past, but none thus far are present in such a high percent of the cancer cells and virtually none are overexpressed like this one.”

The ALDH1B1 enzyme allegedly uplifts the formation of these cancer cells. Experts share that if this enzyme was a byproduct of cancer, it would not be found in each cancer cell at high levels. The findings may render a method to treat the disease.

“Our efforts are focused on developing a drug that could turn into a toxic compound and kill the cancer cell when acted upon by the enzyme. It would act like a suicide pill, if you will,” quoted Vasilis Vasiliou, PhD, professor of molecular toxicology at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy.

The team is currently analyzing how this enzyme is up-regulated into colon cancer cells and its precise role in physiology of the tumor cells. Further, scientists are evaluating the substrate, inhibitors and activators of ALDH1B1.

The study was published online in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.