Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Large-Scale Survey of Cancer Gene Mutations

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Large-Scale Survey of Cancer Gene Mutations

Article excerpt

A Study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University provided the first demonstration of a practical method of screening rumors for cancer-related gene abnormalities. The results constitute an important step toward the era of personalized medicine, in which cancer therapy would be guided by the particular set of genetic mutations within each patient's tumor.

Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., from Dana-Farber, explained that cancer is a disease of the genome, of mutations within genes responsible for cell growth and survival. Much effort has been devoted to finding these mutations. Researchers now know of several hundred to a thousand of these. The challenge has been to determine which mutations are involved in which types of cancer and to develop accurate methods of detecting key mutations in tumor samples. He said that this study suggests that such a method is "feasible on a large scale."

The authors devised a simple test to detect important cancer mutations. Mutations in genes linked to cancer do not occur randomly but arise most often in certain regions of the oncogene (cancer-causing gene). They also performed screenings with a technique known as "high-throughput genotyping," a relatively inexpensive way of profiling gene mutations within cells. …

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