Scientists Decode Set of Cancer Genes

Cancer Research, News — By on November 6, 2008 at 9:17 am

For the first time, researchers have decoded all the genes of a person with cancer and found a set of mutations that might have caused the disease or aided its progression.

Using cells donated by a woman in her 50s who died of leukemia, the scientists sequenced all the DNA from her cancer cells and compared it to the DNA from her own normal, healthy skin cells. Then they zeroed in on 10 mutations that occurred only in the cancer cells, apparently spurring abnormal growth, preventing the cells from suppressing that growth and enabling them to fight off chemotherapy.

“This is the first of many of these whole cancer genomes to be sequenced,” said Richard K. Wilson, director of the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis and the senior author of the study. “They’ll give us a whole bunch of clues about what’s going on in the DNA when cancer starts to bloom.”

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