Â Â Â It is the great mystery of
cancer: Why do healthy cells in the body start growing out of
control... causing disease? Now, researchers have uncovered new,
Â Â Â Dr. Richard Wilson says
this is the first time that we've been able to look at the entire set
of genes from a cancer patient and that is key because that's going
to help us understand what goes wrong. Using donated cells from a
woman who died of leukemia, researchers compared the individual
genes, all 20,000 of them ... from her cancer cells ... to those from
her normal, healthy cells.
Â Â Â They identified ten
genetic "mutations" or mistakes in the cancer cells. Just
ten defective genes out of the 20 thousand that appear to have caused
her cancer. One of the newly discovered abnormal genes blocks
chemotherapy drugs from ever getting inside the cancer cells to kill
them. Four others appear to turn off a cell's "early warning
system" that would normally prevent a healthy cell from ever
turning into a cancer cell.
Â Â Â Dr. Wilson says if those
genes are mutated or de-activated, there's a very good chance the
cancer can start to grow out of control. This is just the first step.
Researchers are now working to identify all the genetic mistakes
that can cause lung, and brain, and ovarian cancers, with the hope of
one day being able to identify with a simple blood test each and
every cancer patient's unique genetic make-up.
Â Â Â These new genetic cancer
"codes" will not only help develop new, more targeted drugs
in the future, they'll help how existing cancer medications are used
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