Scientists from Australia have made the biggest breakthrough in breast cancer in years with the first discovery of common genes linked to the disease.
Researchers from the Queens land Institute of Medical Research, working with an international team, conducted their study on more than 40, 000 women in Australia, Europe and the US, and were successful in linking two genes with a 10% increased risk of developing breast cancer
Dr. Georgia Chenevix-Trench, the institute scientist, explained, "We've all been looking for a decade for common genes that contribute to breast cancer and, while there's been a thousand claims in the literature, none of them are really convincing. Finally, people can now really believe there are common variants for this common disease - we've absolutely confirmed it."
Dr Chenevix-Trench while stating that he their study would be extremely significant expressed his inability to discuss in detail, until it was published in a British journal later this year. They did explain that the study is the first to identify genes that could cause breast cancer since the 1990s, which was when researchers had identified two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which raise the risk of breast cancer by 60%.
Dr Chenevix-Trench explained that there had been a 'decade of darkness' where researchers have tried to connect more common genes to cancer. Explaining that, "The literature has so many weak studies and there's a history of people reporting findings that nobody can then validate, she admitted that her own past work was guilty of this. He further said, "People have then said the literature is full of false leads ... I think this will finally prove that wrong." Helen Zorbas the director of the
National Breast Cancer Centre said that the findings might explain the high rate of breast cancer.