Researchers from the University of Wyoming in Laramie found that inhibiting several genes could reverse the damages caused by loss of "pRb" gene which gets inactivated in human cancers.
David S Fay, a researcher from the Molecular Biology Department at the University and his colleagues used a strain of nematode worms that carried a mutation in a gene similar to "LIN-35".
This gene, "LIN-35" in worms and "pRb" in humans, is thought to control at least several aspects of tumour progression including cancer cell growth and survival.
The researchers systematically inactivated other individual genes in the genome of the mutant LIN-35 worms.
As they deactivated various genes, scientists identified those that led to a reversal of defects caused by the loss of LIN-35, suggesting that they could be used as targets for anti-cancer therapies.
"We hope that by carrying out basic genetic research on one of the most widely implicated human cancer genes, that we can contribute to the arsenal of diverse therapeutic approaches used to treat and cure many types of cancer," Fay said.
The study was published in the journal Genetics.