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  • Posted: 03/29/2013

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NCI Cancer Center News

Genetics might determine which smokers get hooked

Researchers have identified genetic risk factors that may accelerate a teen's progression to becoming a lifelong heavy smoker. The team of scientists from the U.S., the U.K., and New Zealand examined earlier studies by other research teams to develop a genetic risk profile for heavy smoking. Then they looked at their own long-term study of 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38 to identify whether individuals at high genetic risk got hooked on cigarettes more quickly as teens and whether, as adults, they had a harder time quitting. Duke University researchers developed a new "genetic risk score" for the study by examining prior genome-wide associations (GWAS) of adult smokers. Duke is home to the Duke Cancer Institute.

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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.