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NCI Cancer Center News

Newly identified fusion genes in lung and colorectal cancer may guide treatment with 'targeted' drugs

  • Posted: February 15, 2012

Novel gene abnormalities discovered in a subpopulation of lung and colorectal tumors could potentially identify patients with a good chance of responding to highly specific "targeted" drugs already in use for treating other cancers, scientists report. The genetic alterations – pieces of two genes fused together – showed up in a massive search of the DNA in stored tumor samples of non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer, said researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Foundation Medicine, Inc. These specific genetic abnormalities had not been previously linked to the two cancer types.

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NCI comprehensive cancer centerAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 66 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.