Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Better Understanding Of Gene Mutations Can Improve Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Medical Science

Personal Genomics: Science News writes: “Genetic analyses of tumors (melanoma cells shown)
offer great promise for improving diagnoses and treatment, but new studies show that not all
mutations can be treated equally.”
Image Credit: Julio C. Valencia; NCI Center for Cancer Research
SourceScience News

One of the promises of next-generation cancer treatment is personalized genomics and personalized profiling, which together form the fundamentals of individualized cancer care. Yet, in order to fully take advantage of such gene-sequencing techniques, it requires a better understanding of mutations at the genetic and molecular level. Moreover, a comparative analysis between cancerous cells and healthy cells gives a more accurate result on whether the genetic mutation is indeed related to the cancer in question, cancer researchers are finding out. Simply put, not all genetic mutations result in cancer.

In “Year in review: Cancer genetics grows up” (December 15, 2015), Rachel Ehrenberg writes for Science News: “But such genetic testing can be misleading if it isn’t conducted alongside tests of healthy cells from the same person, says oncologist Victor Velculescu of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He led a vast analysis comparing the genetic profiles of tumors and normal tissue of more than 800 cancer patients and found that nearly two-thirds of mutations in the studied tumors — many of which might be used to guide treatment — also showed up in patients’ healthy tissues (SN: 5/16/15, p. 10). For those patients, the mutations were probably just benign variants unrelated to the cancer. Analyzing healthy tissue can also reveal whether mutations found in tumors are heritable or not, Velculescu says, which is important for deciding whether a cancer patient’s family should receive genetic counseling.”

For more, go to [ScienceNews]

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