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Experts: Lung Cancer Risk Cut By Gene

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http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,, ... 19,00.html

Updated: 09:13, Tuesday May 01, 2007

Scientists are a step closer to finding out why some people get cancer.

A team from Dundee University have discovered that people who carry a variant of a specific gene are less likely to develop lung cancer.

Few people carry variant geneThe experts found that the warped gene causes a potentially cancer-producing protein in the body to be broken down.

The varient of the gene also renders the protein harmless at a much faster rate than in people with the normal gene.

So far, the discovery only applies to lung cancer.

But researchers are now working to find out if the gene's mechanism has similar implications for other forms of the killer disease.

All humans have the unaltered gene, CYP1B1, while fewer than 10% of people carry its variant.

Dr Thomas Friedberg, who has led the research, said the dangerous protein is broken down three times as fast in people with the altered gene.

Having lower levels of the protein corresponds to a lower risk of developing cancer, he said.

Dr Mark Matfield, of the Association for International Cancer Research, said: "Now we know why they (people with the gene variant) are less likely (to have cancer), we can find out how to make people more like them."

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