Researchers have developed a molecular map and other similar discoveries that could combat stomach cancer, a common malignancy found in the Asian population.
'The inroads can give doctors the means to fight the disease more effectively,' said Professor Soo Khee Chee, director of the National Cancer Centre (NCC).
The team led by the NCC included experts from the University of Hong Kong, University of Tokyo and Australia's Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre. They examined more than 300 tissue samples from cancerous tumors and analyzed 20 million interactions among different genes.
They uncovered key molecular changes that cause the cells to divide uncontrollably and change into intestinal tissue, often a precursor to cancer.
'We get insights not into individual genes but their networks as a whole system, the switches, which are turned on irrevocably, leading to the cancer,' Patrick Tan, principal investigator at the NCC told The Strait Times.
Stomach cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer that kills six out of ten patients. According to doctors, early diagnosis is critical and by the time most sufferers show symptoms such as pain, weight loss and vomiting, it is too late.