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New gene mutation raises hope for breast cancer patients

London , Fri, 24 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 24 (ANI): Scientists have mapped the genetic code of the most common type of hereditary breast cancer for the first time, which has raised hopes for better diagnosis and treatment of the killer disease.


The researchers have "fully sequenced" the DNA of two breast cancers caused by a faulty BRCA1 gene, which is responsible for aggressive and highly drug-resistant tumours.


The team from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) say they hope that their work will lead to more tailored treatment for patients.


"It is exciting to find new genes which could be involved in causing and driving breast cancer. Now these have been identified we have to do more work to find out the role that they play. Ultimately, this knowledge could help us develop new treatments that target the specific defects of each patient's disease," the Daily Star quoted Rachael Natrajan, one of the scientists involved in the study as saying.


Breast cancers genetically passed down through families account for up to 10 percent of all cases, affecting around 4,500 people in the UK each year.


According to the scientists, cases caused by the BRCA1 gene are "usually aggressive" and "do not benefit" from targeted drugs such as tamoxifen and herceptin.


The research found that despite both tumours being caused by the same source they mutated in almost completely different ways.


"We often consider patients with a faulty BRCA gene as one group but our work shows that each tumour can look very different from each other genetically. Now we understand this, we can start to identify the best treatment strategies to save more lives of hereditary breast cancer patients," Jorge Reis-Filho, who co-authored the study, said.


The study has been published in the Journal of Pathology. (ANI)


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