The Road To Discovering The Ovarian Cancer Treatment Through New The Gene “Map”

Ovarian Cancer
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Scientists of the current largest study about tumour types claim that they have made in-depth progress into discovering the genes that promote aggressive ovarian cancer.

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network arrived at this discovery through the 2006 joint project of the US National Cancer Institute and the US National Human Genome Research Institute.

Paul T. Spellman, the head researcher and a staff scientist in Berkeley, California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said that this study serves as a map that would guide the cancer research community as to the direction to look and things to work on in the future. He further mentioned that prior to this study, scientists were essentially just making guesses - but now, a very good road map has been sketched out.

The American Cancer Society said that in women, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer. However, it is one of the most dangerous because it is often detected too late to make treatment work effectively. In 2010 alone, almost 14,000 women from the US died because of ovarian cancer.

The study focused on  HGS-OvCa or high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinoma, the reason behind 85% of ovarian cancer deaths. The regions of this genome that facilitate protein production were examined more clearly.

Some of the major findings from the study are as follows:

- There are apparently four different types of HGS-OvCa, in addition to four more subtypes.

- The key gene TP53 abnormalities were found in 96% of patients who manifested these tumours.

- In general, 108 genes that were found to possess aberrations were connected to poor survival, while the absence of such abnormalities in 85 genes were linked to better chances of survival.

The authors of the study also say that this genomic scan could also lead the way to better and new possible treatments.

The team has noted that almost half of all the ovarian tumours they have studied show possibilities of responding favourably to drugs that target weaknesses in the genes.

According to the director of the gynaecologic cancer program of Durham, N.C.’s Duke Cancer Institute, the most important thing of the genomic study is that "not all ovarian cancers are alike."

He said that basically, what the study did was conduct an autopsy. He went on stating that it serves as somewhat a forensic analysis of tumours, where they further observed how the molecular changes that occur in one case vary from another. That is, in terms of what went wrong in the cell growth and cell death.

Berchuck further explained that what’s more important for the patients is now an individual cancer can be studied then its molecular alterations can be characterised so as to find out what could have caused that specific cancer to arise. Then from these alteration data can be used as therapeutic targets for medicating that particular cancer. This then embarks the personalised medicine potential - where ovarian cancers are treated on a case to case basis. Though this is a already a big leap in terms of knowledge, the issue then boils down to being able to put things into action. But still this is a good major step into going the right direction.

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