IN what is believed to be the largest study of its kind in the US, researchers have found that almost 26% of women studied who have breast cancer have mutations in a gene important in controlling cell growth and death, and that patients with mutations in this gene – known as p53 - had poorer outcomes including a significantly increased risk of death from the cancer.
Researchers say their study, presented at the annual meeting of the American association for cancer research, confirms the findings of other smaller studies, and is an important step forward in understanding risk factors that lead to development of breast cancer.
For example, the investigators have found that postmenopausal women with high body weight were more likely to have a particular kind of p53 mutation, but they say this link needs to be studied further.
“The p53 gene is the guardian of the genome because it signals the cell to repair DNA damage when that occurs,” said the study’s lead investigator, Catalin Marian, researcher at Georgetown university medical center (GUMC).
“If we can find genetic or environmental risk factors that lead to damage of p53 or stress on the gene, we may be able to help prevent development of breast cancer as well as other cancers.”
MEANWHILE, GUMC and the Lombardi comprehensive cancer center announce the recruitment of “one of the world’s most respected cancer researchers”, V Craig Jordan. Jordan joins Lombardi in July as scientific director for the cancer center and vice chairman of the department of oncology. Also, Jordan will occupy an endowed chair.
Jordan’s “scientific leadership is recognised the world over”. He brings an unparalleled focus to the “excellent breast cancer program” at Lombardi and joins nearly 30 faculty members working exclusively on finding a cure for the disease.
GUMC is apparently ranked sixth in the world for publications on breast cancer research underscoring aim to eradicate the disease.
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