U.S. launches cancer gene mapping project

The following is the lead-in for a Reuters news story about a new initiative against cancer. This one sounds like it has promise to me, but maybe I'm just a starry eyed idealist. :-)

U.S. government researchers launched on Tuesday a pilot project to find all the little genetic changes that cause cancer and hope it can open a whole new world of targeted cancer therapy.

They hope to lay the groundwork for replicating the successes of a few targeted cancer therapies such as Genentech Inc's Herceptin, useful against one type of breast cancer, and Novartis's Gleevec, a pill that revolutionized treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.

Scientists know that cancer is a genetic disease, caused by mutations or other changes in the DNA of cells. But no one has done a systematic analysis of all the mutations in various tumors.

This is exactly what I do in my lab. But we're just a very small player in the cancer research game. My boss is an oncologist and she's only in the lab one day a week, most of her time is spent doing surgery on breast cancer victims. So the lab consists of a MD that is on a two year research rotation during his surgical residency and me. A big money initiative like this will allow the big players to enter this part of the field. Labs with dozens of post-docs and research fellows. Labs like that can do 50 times as much work in a year as we can.

While my lab is currently in the forefront of this area of research, I'd welcome being shuffled to the back if it means that we can limit the damage of cancer that much sooner.


Unrelated - sorry...

I have actually been losing battles like there is no tomorrow. Considering takign a break for a while LOL!
kenju said…
I hope you get the answer to that soon, Utenzi, and it would be a boon to all mankind!

Aren't you the man of sweet comments!! I appreciate the kind words; I think he just didn't want to do or say anything to delay the initial reason for the honeymoon "wink, wink", so he saved it all for later, when he could tease me wtihout fear of recriminations. LOL!
netchick said…
Wow, Dave. That's exciting news. We, as a world, need an answer soon to this horrific disease. I'm glad the groundwork for further collaborative research is being focussed on.
Shelli said…
My dad died of pancreatic cancer six weeks after diagnosis. That isn't exactly accurate, because they didn't know what kind of cancer he actually had until they did the autopsy. They said it was a case for the textbooks because it had cells that were rapidly changing and multiplying. During that time they did 2 liver biopsies and still were unable to put markers on it. The autopsy showed that over 95% of his liver was affected with metasteses.

You can imagine how happy news of this type makes me. My dad was 55 years old when he died 2/15/2000. Hopefully by the time my brothers and I get to be that age, they will have found a cure or a preventative.
poopie said…
The answer is out there.
Lish said…
My job is too diagnose cancer, so if it didn't exist any more, I wouldn't have a job anymore. Does this bother me? Not a bit. I can find a new career, but my father will never be alive again.
Diane Mandy said…
This is very exciting news! Cancer, it seems, has touched us all in some way. :-(
Oreo said…
How is the rat?
utenzi said…
Rat? I only work with human tissue, Oreo, though there's some possibility I'll work with murine tissue sections late next year. Only if we get funding for the new project tho and that's iffy.

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