Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aberrant Chromosomes in Cancer

Teams Use Math Models To Sort Drivers From Passengers 

By Mike Martin for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute  

Using what they call a new, easier, and more "intuitive" method of identifying chromosomal aberrations associated with various cancers, Swiss, Israeli, and U.S. researchers say they’ve discovered a new subtype of the brain tumor, medulloblastoma, that is similar to type 1 neuroblastoma.

The study is one of the latest examples of an increasing focus on altered chromosomes as causes—not just by-products—of carcinogenesis.

A burgeoning literature "indicates many chromosomal aberrations are of fundamental importance to tumor development," said geneticist Joseph Testa, Ph.D., who codirects the cancer biology program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

More important, chromosomal aberrations—deletions, additions, and translocations common in tumor cells—can lead to the discovery of previously unknown oncogenes and new therapeutic targets, said Testa, who was not involved in the study but reviewed it for this news story.

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