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Scientists Hunt Genes Driving Lung Cancer

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http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/ ... 26535.html


Scientists Hunt Genes Driving Lung Cancer

-- Robert Preidt

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers focused on the causes and treatment of lung cancer have located nearly 100 chromosome areas where potentially related genes are either missing or are over-copied.

Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston used a new technology that enabled them to zero in on smaller sections of cell chromosomes than was previously possible. They believe the new gene information offers important clues to non-small cell lung cancer (the most common form of the disease) and even possible targets for new treatments.

The study appears this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Previous studies have identified a small set of mutated, or abnormal, genes that are associated with non-small cell lung cancer," study lead author Dr. Giovanni Tonon said in a prepared statement.

"But we also know that the chromosomes of these cells contain a large number of irregular regions -- where genes have either been deleted or copied over and over again -- which suggests that a large number of cancer genes remain to be discovered. The purpose of this study was to locate the likeliest candidates," Tonon said.

The researchers analyzed tumor samples from 44 people with non-small cell lung cancer and 34 laboratory-grown non-small cell lung cancer cells. The cells were scanned with high-resolution cDNA (oligonnucleotide) microarray equipment in order to identify the chromosome regions where there were either missing or over-copied genes.

Using this information, the scientists scanned the genes in 93 regions to see if any were missing (and inactive) or present in unusually large amounts (highly active) in deleted or over-copied regions. This enabled the researchers to narrow the search for genes that were the targets of the irregular regions. All of the genes already known to be involved in non-small cell lung cancer reside within the abnormal regions identified by the Dana-Farber team, the researchers said.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about lung cancer.

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