Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in the US have identified an enzyme that could be used for the early diagnosis of colon cancer.
For the study, researchers studied the colon cancers of 40 patients and found that a form of an enzyme known as ALDH1B1 was present in every colon cancer cell in 30 out of 40 cases.
The enzyme, which is normally found in only stem cells, was identified at extraordinary high levels.
According to researchers, it appears that ALDH1B1 aids the development or growth of these cancer cells and this enzyme may also provide a way to treat the disease.
Researchers are now analysing how this enzyme is up-regulated into colon cancer cells and its exact role in the physiology of the tumour cells.