Potential Familial Lung Cancer Gene Location Discovered
Researchers have found a possible inherited component for lung cancer, a disease normally associated with external causes, such as cigarette smoking. An interdisciplinary consortium consisting of 12 research institutions and universities, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), identified a major lung cancer susceptibility region on a segment of chromosome 6. The findings appear in the online edition of American Journal of Human Genetics and will appear in print in the September 2004 issue.
The Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium examined 52 families who had at least 3 first-degree family members affected by lung, throat, or laryngeal cancer. Of these 52 families, 23 had 5 or more affected members in at least 2 generations. Using 392 known genetic markers, which are DNA sequences that are known to be common sites of genetic variation, the researchers generated and then compared the alleles of all affected and nonaffected family members who were willing to participate in the study. Read more
In Cancer Research Today, Success Breeds Success
Advances in cancer research and treatment are truly gratifying things to witness, which is why I'm extremely excited about the prospects for important new advances heralded by a study published recently in Science. The study gets to the heart of a problem that has vexed many cancer researchers: drug resistance. In the past, when drugs, especially chemotherapy drugs, did not work in some patients, we had limited success in quickly determining why. But today, we have the tools and knowledge at our disposal to "reverse engineer" developmental therapeutics and determine the genetic or molecular basis for success or failure of a targeted therapy. And that is exactly what has now been done for the targeted therapy imatinib (Gleevec), and in a staggeringly short amount of time.
Imatinib has been one of the most dramatic success stories in cancer therapy over the past few years. This targeted agent has produced impressive results in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), achieving remission in many patients. Unfortunately, imatinib has its shortcomings: 15-20 percent of CML patients are either resistant to it or develop resistance to it. But insights from research conducted over just the past few years have laid the groundwork for efforts to test agents that could overcome imatinib resistance. Read more