Breakthrough in identification of major mutations linked to cancer

  • Posted

Posted 18/08/2013

An international team of researchers have been involved in the largest analysis of cancer genomes yet undertaken. They were looking for what have been called ‘genetic graffiti’ to indicate what has given rise to the mutation resulting in the body’s cells transforming into a malignant tumour. For example, this ‘genetic graffiti’ can show whether smoking, UV radiation, or ageing, all of which have long been known to increase the risk of cancer, are responsible for the mutation that has resulted in cancer. The study has found that 21 separate and identifiable ‘graffiti signatures’ could account for 97% of the mutations which lead to cancer. The discoveries have been called a major milestone in understanding how and why cells mutate.Trefine Maynard, a clinical negligence solicitor at Ashtons Legal, said: “These findings are hugely exciting and encouraging. The field of genetics is beginning to offer an insight into disease that is fascinating and promises a huge advance, not just in the understanding of the nature and cause of disease, but also how disease might be most effectively treated or in time, even prevented. There are so many people whose lives have been devastated by cancer. These advances in knowledge offer enormous hope for the future.”


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