Can Cancer Virulence Be Predicted”

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Research reported in Science Transitional Medicine concluded that identifying the genes that are abnormally activated in a cancer makes it possible to determine its virulence with great accuracy. Although all cells in the body have the same genes. specialization leads to activation of some and the repression of others. In a cell with cancer the mechanism that allow a cell to activate or repress genes are damaged and there is a sort of identity crisis.  Focusing on genes that are awakened in tumors the researchers found that in almost all cancers, tens of specific genes in the germ line are abhorrently activated. To explore the implications of these aberrant activations the researchers focused on lung cancer. and discovered 26 genes whose activation is associated with particularly aggressive cancers and when these genes are expressed the cancer is very virulent. This allows those cancers that have a high risk of recurrence and a fatal prognosis at diagnosis. Further research should be done on other cancer sites.

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