Scientists identify gene vital for rebuilding intestine after cancer treatment

The stem cells in our gut divide so fast that they create a completely new population of epithelial cells every week. But this quick division is also why radiation and chemotherapy wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients – such therapies target rapidly dividing cells. Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center found that a rare type of stem cell is immune to radiation damage thanks to high levels of a gene called Sox9.

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