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  • Posted: 03/15/2013
NCI Cancer Center News

USC researchers show increase of cell mutations with age

Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC (home of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center) showed evidence that cell mutations increase with age, causing supposedly identical cells to diverge genetically. The report is featured as the cover article in the April issue of the journal Aging Cell. The lining of the colon is made up of crypts, sections composed of about 2,000 cell clones. The researchers were able to analyze and compare the genome of crypts from different areas of the same person’s colon. In the colon, genetic mutations are implicated in cancer, and the mutations increase in cases of severe inflammatory bowel disease. Cell divergence in other parts of the body may play a role in other diseases as well.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 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.