In a potential breakthrough in breast cancer research, scientists at the University of Cambridge (UK) have announced the identification of four new genes that are likely to be involved in the development of breast cancer.
Breast cancer most frequently results from long-term damage to a woman’s genes over the course of a lifetime. In some cases, however, mutations to genes called BRAC 1 and BRAC 2 can be inherited and cause the development of breast and ovarian cancer.
Professor Carlos Caldas, who headed the study, explained that recent DNA technology enables scientists to pinpoint the specific genes which cause breast cancer. To examine tissue from 53 breast cancer tumors and cells grown in the laboratory, the team relied on DNA microarray technology which enabled them to compare many genes simultaneously and to spot the breast cancer gene.
The preliminary results indicate that tumors with multiple copies of the breast-cancer genes are more aggressive.
Professor Caldas was excited about the findings, published in the journal Oncogene, since they may help to develop new targeted cancer therapies. "Hopefully this cutting edge technology will trigger a parallel increase in the speed at which new cancer treatments reach the patient."
According to International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women throughout the world, with more than a million new cases occurring each year.