MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There has been a breakthrough in cancer research at the University of Minnesota.

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Researchers pinpointed a single enzyme that may cause more cases of cancer than UV rays from the sun or chemicals from smoking. It’s a human anti-viral protein, known as APPO-beck 3B.

The researchers found that it leads to several types of cancer, including breast, bladder and two types of lung cancer.

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“So kind of like sunlight, this is a major source of mutation that should be controllable,” Prof. Reuben Harris said. “So, that’s a big deal, we think, for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications.”

The enzyme is produced by the immune system to protect us from viruses, like HIV.

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The study was published in Sunday’s issue of Nature Genetics.