Monday, December 21, 2009

UK Scientist have mapped Lung, skin cancer genetic codes

The genetic codes for lung and skin cancer have been mapped, an accomplishment that could lead to vastly improved treatments, scientists in Britain say.

The Wellcome Trust researchers told the BBC knowing the genetic code ultimately could mean better blood tests to spot tumors sooner and drugs that pinpoint cancer cells.

Scientists in 10 countries are moving on to catalog genes in other cancers, with Britain tackling breast cancer, Japan taking on liver cancer, India mouth cancer, China stomach cancer, and the United States cancers of the brain, ovary and pancreas, the British broadcaster reported Wednesday. It could take five years to complete the mapping.

"These catalogs are going to change the way we think about individual cancers," said Wellcome Trust scientist Professor Michael Stratton, the lead researcher in Britain. "By identifying all the cancer genes we will be able to develop new drugs that target the specific mutated genes and work out which patients will benefit from these novel treatments.

"We can envisage a time when following the removal of a cancer cataloging it will become routine."

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