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Scientists Make Strides in Lung Cancer Research


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http://cbs5.com/localwire/localfsnews/b ... s_bcn_html

Scientists examining over 500 specimens of lung cancer tumors have made strides in discovering what causes tumor cells to uncontrollably grow, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health announced today.

The study was conducted as part of the Tumor Sequencing Project, an organization researching adenocarcinoma, which is the most commonly diagnosed form of lung cancer in the United States.

Support from the National Human Genome Research Institute, which is one of the National Institutes of Health, contributed to the study's finding that lung cancer can be connected to "a critical gene alteration not previously linked to any form of cancer," according to officials.

Researchers found 57 genomic changes that occur frequently in lung cancer patients, and discovered that 40 of the genomic changes were not previously associated with lung cancer.

Officials report that these discoveries may help doctors discover new ways to combat the disease, which kills an estimated 150,000 people in the country each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"(This finding) lays an essential foundation, and has already pinpointed an important gene that controls the growth of lung cells. This information offers crucial inroads to the biology of lung cancer and will help shape new strategies for cancer diagnosis and therapy," said Mathew Meyerson, senior author of the report.

Reports conducted as part of the Tumor Sequencing Project are available to the public and can be accessed by visiting www.genome.gov/cancersequencing.

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Given the progress on the gene analysis front, does our drug/treatment approval process need re evaluation and adjustment. I foresee a more customized treatments in the future. Your specific genes/individual factors will point you to try a subset of available treatments, but also to forgo,avoid other treatments. There may be small subsets of us who will benefit from drugs which may never get approval through the current drug approval process. Is our lung cancer advocacy movement pushing on the drug approval front to factor in these effective, but only for smaller subsets of folks. ???? Thanks. Hank

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I think this is related to the first post! Looks very positive!!!!

PARIS (AFP) - Scientists have mapped the genetic aberrations underlying lung cancer and discovered a gene that plays a critical role in spreading the deadly disease, according to a study published Sunday.

The massive DNA study, involving dozens of research centres worldwide, sheds important light on the biological basis of lung cancer and will help shape new strategies for treatment, the authors said.

"This view of the lung cancer genome is unprecedented, both in its breadth and depth," said Mathew Meyerson of Harvard and MIT, who led the research.

"It lays an essential foundation, and has already pinpointed an important gene that controls the growth of lung cells."

Each year some 1.3 million people die from lung cancer, making it the most lethal form of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation.

The new study focuses on lung adenocarcinoma, which accounts for just under a third of all lung cancer cases.

Part of the international Tumour Sequencing Project, the study looked for abnormalities in the DNA of more than 500 tumours from lung cancer patients.

Most human cancers stem mainly from DNA changes that accumulate in cells through a person's life, but the nature of these changes -- and their consequences -- has remained largely unknown.

The scientists used cutting-edge technologies to scan the human genome for markers called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that highlight missing or duplicate sections of genetic code.

The study, published online by the British journal Nature, uncovered a total of 57 genomic changes that occur frequently in cancer patients.

Of these, at least 40 are associated with genes not previously known to be involved in lung adenocarcinoma.

The genetic anomaly that turned up the most frequently incriminates a gene called NKX2.1 as an accelerator of cancer cell growth.

NKX2.1 normally acts as a "master regulator" that controls the activity of other genes in cells lining tiny air sacs in lungs called alveoli.

The discovery that a gene functioning in a particular group of cells can promote cancer growth could help scientists design drugs to fight not just lung cancer but a wide range of cancers, the researchers said.

In addition, the use of powerful tools and technologies to sequence the genomes of lung cancer patients "represents a general approach that can and should be used to analyse all types of cancer," said co-author Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

The collaborative research behind the study has laid the groundwork for even more ambitious genome projects such as the Cancer Genome Atlas, which seeks to map the common genomic changes in a wide range of human cancers.

In its pilot phase, the Atlas project is focusing on the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, as well as ovarian and squamous cell long cancer.

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