An overactive gene that has been linked to testicular cancer could one day be monitored in men who are at risk and reprogrammed so it is kept under control, researchers said on Wednesday.

Scientists at Duke University found that a gene, called hiwi, was up to 16 times more active in men with testicular cancer than in healthy patients.

Finding the gene, the first to be directly associated with testicular cancer, could allow researchers to watch for the disease and genetically reprogram misbehaved cells, stunting a cancer tumor from growing.