58 new cancer-causing mutations identified
DNA analysis of several thousand tumors has uncovered a treasure trove of clues about the causes of cancer. And the discovered genetic mutations showed the personal history of the disease and the recovery paths that each patient went through.
In the largest study of its kind, a group of scientists from the University of Cambridge analyzed the entire genome sequences of more than 12,000 cancer patients.
Genomic data was provided by the 100,000 Genomes Project, a UK-wide clinical initiative to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from approximately 85,000 patients with rare diseases or cancer.
The recent sequencing of the entire human genome has revealed a huge amount of new data. Thanks to this achievement, the researchers were able to detect characteristic patterns in cancer DNA - mutational signatures. They provide a clue to what environmental factors the patient has been exposed to during their lifetime. It could be smoking or exposure to ultraviolet radiation, or some kind of internal cellular failure.
For example, previous studies have shown that a certain mutation in melanoma is associated with exposure to ultraviolet light, so scientists know for sure that excessive exposure to ultraviolet light is one of the causes of skin cancer.
The team was also able to detect 58 previously unknown mutational signatures. This discovery suggests that there are additional causes of cancer that scientists do not yet fully understand.
Some mutational signatures have clinical or therapeutic implications—they may indicate anomalies for which specific drugs can be targeted, or a potential Achilles' heel for certain types of cancer.
Potentially, the results of this work can be used to improve diagnosis, develop personalized treatment and care for cancer patients.
Another important study recently identified five types of bacteria associated with aggressive prostate cancer. Three of them turned out to be completely new species. Whether these bacteria directly cause cancer is unclear at this stage, but researchers believe they could develop new tests to detect aggressive prostate cancer by monitoring for the presence of these bacteria.
A new fact to be noticed that a lack of certain vaginal bacteria can also increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer and antioxidants and sugar can also provoke the development of cancerous tumors.
Lead image source: scitechdaily.com
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