NATIONAL - As yet, no one has nailed down the actual cause of prostate cancer, but researchers at the University of Michigan are getting close. They're putting 'gene fusion' under the microscope.
Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan says "it's basically when two genes come together to create a new gene."
A fused gene works like a switch, turning 'on' normally turned 'off' cancer-causing genes. It could be the start of the disease.
Said Dr. Chinnaiyan, "We believe that it is the first step to initiating, one of the initiating molecular lesions in prostate cancer as well as a number of other cancers."
What's more, researchers found several sets of "on switches" so prostate cancer could be a more complex disease than once thought.
Previous studies have shown that gene fusion is involved in blood cell cancers like leukemia.
The Michigan study is the first to find the link to solid tumors like prostate cancer.