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A Futile Search for Cancer Gene

by Medindia Content Team on May 12, 2006 at 8:16 PM
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A Futile Search for Cancer Gene

Researchers Stuart Baker, of the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and Jaakko Kaprio, a genetic epidemiologist from the University of Helsinki claim that it is waste of time and money to search for genes linked to cancer. They have stated their theory in the British Medical Journal. They say that there is very little chance of identifying the genes but a huge lump of money is being invested. Researchers believe that if they can identify one or few genes that can help identify people at risk of developing cancer then it would be a major breakthrough. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to breast cancer. It is said that carrying one of these genes greatly increases the lifetime risk of the disease. But such studies and experiments are expensive because they need large sample sizes.

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The three main reasons they site to prove that the search for a genetic link would not be fruitful are that, one tumor cells grow profusely and this involve alterations in many genes. Identifying all the altered genes is close to impossible. Secondly migration lays an important role in cancer patterns as the native population. This proves that environmental changes, such as diet, are more important than genes. Finally studies into twins from the data collected from Norwegian twin database are found to contradict the basic fact that identical twins share all the same genes. If identical twins had the same genes then they would suffer from the same type of cancer. Hence in conclusion the researchers say that genes play a minor role in the contribution to the risk of cancer.

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