News / Health

Latest Cancer Research Leads to Better Screening, New Drugs

DNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research InstituteDNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute
DNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute
DNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute
New research has nearly doubled the number of genetic variations implicated in breast, prostate and ovarian cancer, offering fresh avenues for screening at-risk patients and, potentially, developing better drugs.
The bumper haul of 74 gene changes that can increase risks for the three hormone-related cancers, announced by scientists on Wednesday, is the result of the largest ever study of its kind.
It follows an international project to analyse the DNA of more than 200,000 people - half of them with cancer and half from the general population - to find alterations that are more common in individuals with the disease.
Although each gene variation increases cancer risk by only a small amount, scientists calculate that the one percent of men carrying lots of the alterations could have a 50 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
Women with multiple variants could see their risk of breast cancer increase by 30 percent.
Doug Easton of the University of Cambridge, one of the cancer researchers who led the work, said the batch of new genetic discoveries meant medical experts would be able to develop new cancer screening programs.
This will take time, since more research is needed to develop diagnostic tools.
"I would think that within five to 10 years this might be being used commonly, if not in a very widespread population base,'' said Paul Pharoah, also of the University of Cambridge.
Initially, the additional screening is likely to be targeted at patients with established cancer risk factors, such as carriers of BRCA gene faults. Women with BRCA faults are known to be at greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

New Drugs

Ros Eeles of Britain's Institute of Cancer Research, an expert in prostate cancer, said the new findings were the biggest leap forward yet in understanding the genetic basis of the disease.
"They allow us, for the first time, to identify men who have a very high risk of developing prostate cancer during their lifetime through inheritance of multiple risk genetic variants,'' she said.
In the case of prostate cancer, scientists found 23 new genetic variations - known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs - taking the total to 78. Significantly, 16 were linked with the more aggressive forms of the disease.
For breast cancer the researchers found 49 new SNPs, more than doubling the number previously identified, and in ovarian cancer the tally was 11.
A few of the variations were common to more than one cancer type, suggesting there may be common mechanisms of action that could be targeted by new drugs.
Developing medicines using the insight gained by the latest research will take many years, even assuming that drugmakers can produce compounds that work effectively. Encouragingly, though, companies such as Roche, the market leader in cancer, are getting better at making drugs that apply biochemical brakes'' to tumor cells.
The scientists stressed that genes, while important, were just one side of a complex mix of factors leading to cancer.
"Lifestyle and environmental risks act in concert with the genetics. It is not one or the other - it is always both together,'' Pharoah told reporters.
The new research was published in a series of papers in Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, PLOS Genetics, and the American Journal of Human Genetics and Human Molecular Genetics.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: hesham mostafa from: egypt
March 29, 2013 9:23 AM
It is an authentic breakthrough in cancer exploration. A clinical trial pointed out that they managed to cut down 3-year fatality rate in people with metastatic cancer malignancy by more than 5 times. Nothing is identical to this effect in the whole oncological research. Once more 5 times fewer people past away in 3 years after they taught one additional therapy.

The treatment was based on the process utilized by almost 200 Russian medical experts, and the objective of the process is to enhance oxygen content in cells by means of the legendary Buteyko respiratory method. These awesome results are reported and all details of their treatment solution are stated in the Kindle book from Amazon “Doctors Who Cure Cance"r Dr. Artour Rakhimov. Once you see a person with cancer, I ask you to share!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs