Long-promised cancer revolution begins

February 20, 2010 at 7:41 am | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
clipped from www.newscientist.com

A personalised blood test that can identify tumour DNA could be the first step towards a long-promised revolution in the way cancer is treated.
In the short term, the test
could be used to spot cancer
recurrence before tumour growth shows up on scans, meaning that
treatment could be started earlier.

The test detects genetic
rearrangements that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells
. Eventually it might also pave the way for more personalised cancer treatments tailored to the genetic signature of individuals’ tumours.
Doctors already classify cancers by some of the genes that get switched on by the disease, and use this to guide treatment in some cases. For example, breast cancers are often divided into those that express oestrogen receptors on their surface and are therefore likely to respond to the drug tamoxifen, and those that don’t.

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