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March 08, 2007

Cancer Gene progress

Futurepundit points out a Nature article about the discovery of 120 new cancer related genes The researchers used data generated by the human genome project to sift through a family of 500 genes, called kinase genes, linked to cell growth and division. Defects in some of these genes have already been linked to cancer. Using cell samples from 210 different types of cancer, they searched for mutations in the genes of these cells that are not present in those of non-cancerous cells. They found more than 1,000 cancer-specific mutations, of which around 150 are thought to be 'driver' genes, which trigger the rampant growth of cancer cells. The discovery is a significant addition to the 350 genes already known to be linked to cancer.

Cheaper and faster gene sequencing and the new methods to quickly measure hundreds of thousands of interactions between genes in parallel are enabling rapid progress in the understanding of the genetic basis for diseases of all kinds.

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