Master gene of Cancer discovered

terryl965

<center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
41,259
Reaction score
340
Location
Grand Prairie Texas
I am glad research is paying off and here to them getting closer. :asian:
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,573
Reaction score
456
Location
Terre Haute, IN
Great news:

Combining the number-crunching potency of computers with an exploration of the genetic code

As a mathematician, it also pleases me how math. is so useful in this sort of thing! I've done a little computational genetics myself.
 

RandomPhantom700

Master of Arts
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
1,583
Reaction score
69
Location
Treasure Coast, FL
British-based researchers said a gene called UTX, found in the X gender chromosome, played the role of ringmaster in 10 percent of cases of multiple myeloma and one in 12 cancers of the oesophagus.

Let me preface this question with the admission that I have next to no knowledge of genetic research, short of that involved with my own syndrome. However, is the quote above stating that the identified UTX gene is an unexpected common denominator, or that they saw it in only 10% of one cancer type and 1/12 of the other? Because if the latter interpretation is correct, this doesn't sound like a "master cancer" gene. Maybe someone with a bit more understanding could clarify the significance?

Nonetheless, I'm glad to hear they've made this breakthrough, and hope it leads to some long-overdue cures.
 

Nomad

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
1,206
Reaction score
54
Location
San Diego, CA
Let me preface this question with the admission that I have next to no knowledge of genetic research, short of that involved with my own syndrome. However, is the quote above stating that the identified UTX gene is an unexpected common denominator, or that they saw it in only 10% of one cancer type and 1/12 of the other? Because if the latter interpretation is correct, this doesn't sound like a "master cancer" gene. Maybe someone with a bit more understanding could clarify the significance?

Nonetheless, I'm glad to hear they've made this breakthrough, and hope it leads to some long-overdue cures.

No, this is not a "master gene" in the sense that most of us would think of the term, and it is unlikely to lead directly to a "cure" for cancer. I believe the second interpretation is correct; it's been implicated in 10% of multiple myelomas and ~8.3% of oesophogeal cancers. These are still actually pretty big numbers for cancer genes; you can place a reasonable bet that it will be found in many other tumor types now that people know exactly what to look for.

What this does mean is that researchers have another good target to aim for in battling against these (and likely other) cancer types. As far as I know, the only drugs which have proven "effective" against all cancer types are those which are inherently cytotoxic... that is, they work by killing cells; preferably killing the tumor cells a bit faster than the healthy cells (which is why most chemotherapy is so hard on the people undergoing treatment).

Newer classes of cancer drugs like Gleevec work by turning on or off particular genes strongly associated with certain cancer cell types. This therapy is generally much better tolerated (ie. less toxic to patients) but only works on a limited range of cancer cell types. It also faces challenges from mutation, where tumor cells will mutate over time to render the drugs ineffective against their target. Sometimes this can be circumvented by providing several different medications as a cocktail, since multiple mutations to create resistant strains are statistically less likely to occur and are also less likely to remain viable.

This is a very very challenging field, and one which IMO is unlikely to ever yield a mass-market "cure". What is more likely is that going forward, patients will have their cancerous tumors genetically typed, providing doctors with a better indication of what drug or combination of drugs is most likely to work for the individual. I think we'll see many more individuals cured of their cancer, without cancer itself ever having been cured (if that makes any sense... )
 
Top