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New gene mutation raises hope for breast cancer patients

New Delhi, Fri, 24 Feb 2012 NI Wire

A ray of hope has appeared for those suffering from breast cancer. In a recent development in the treatment of cancer scientists have mapped the genetic code of the most common type of hereditary breast cancer for the first time. This success has increased the chances of better diagnosis and treatment of this deadly disease that claims a large number of lives worldwide every year.

The team of researchers has "fully sequenced" the DNA of two breast cancers caused by a defective BRCA1 gene, that is held responsible for growth of highly aggressive and highly drug-resistant tumours.

The team from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) expects that their work will help find more appropriate treatment for those suffering from this

"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," Rachael Natrajan, one of the scientists has been quoted saying in the Daily Star.

Breast cancers genetically passed down from on generation to another and is responsible for 1/ 10th of all cases, affecting around 4,500 people in the UK annually.

As per researchers, cases caused by the BRCA1 gene are "usually aggressive" and "do not benefit" from targeted drugs like tamoxifen and herceptin.

The scientists also observed that in spite of both tumours being caused by the same sources they mutated in almost totally diverse 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, co-author of the study has been quoted as saying.

The Journal of Pathology has published this study.

--with inputs from ANI

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