Cancer Research UK scientists have found more than 400 'blind spots' in DNA which could hide cancer-causing gene faults, according to research published* today (Friday) in Cancer Research.
The researchers found hidden faults in areas that are tricky for gene-reading technology to decode. This technique, which unravels cancer's genetic blueprint, is an important part of the research that scientists carry out to understand more about cancer's biology.
By finding new ways to unlock these blind spots in the future, the researchers hope this will help us understand these mistakes and whether they lead to cancer. This could be a step towards developing tests to spot cancers earlier or provide new tactics for discovering future cancer treatments.
The team, from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, compared two giant gene databases made from cancer cells grown in labs and cross-checked all the genes that are known - or are likely to be - involved in cancer to unearth the problem areas.
They found that the 400 blind spots in the genes were hidden in very repetitive DNA areas which cause the gene-reading technology to stutter. This problem reading the genes could conceal mistakes which might play a vital role in cancer.
Lead researcher Andrew Hudson, at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester, said: "The genes behind cancer are like a story. While we've been able to read most of the book using gene-reading technology, the limits of these tools mean some pages are missing.
"These pages could just be unimportant filler, but we wonder if they might hold important twists in the plot which could affect our understanding of cancer. The next step in our work will be to find a way to open up these areas to help piece together the full story."
Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK's senior science information manager, said: "We're at an unprecedented point in cancer research. As research accelerates we're revealing more and more about cancer's secrets and central to this is our better understanding of how genetic changes drive the disease."
"By delving deeper into cancer's genetic origins we can spot the ways the disease is triggered and develops. This could help us to tackle it from the root, giving more cancer patients a chance at surviving the disease."
The University of Manchester, including the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, joined forces with Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust to form the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, allowing doctors and scientists to work closely together to turn scientific advances into patient benefits sooner.
For media enquiries contact Emily Head in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 6189 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.
Notes to editors:
* Hudson et al. Discrepancies in Cancer Genomic Sequencing Highlight Opportunities for Driver Mutation Discovery. Cancer Research. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-1020
About Manchester Cancer Research Centre
The Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) is a partnership founded by The University of Manchester, including the CRUK Manchester Institute, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK. The MCRC brings together the expertise, ambition and resources of its partner organisations in the fields of cancer treatment and clinical research and provides outstanding facilities where researchers and clinicians can work closely together. The aim of the MCRC is to improve understanding of how cancer develops, in order to translate basic and clinical research into new diagnostic tests and treatments that benefit cancer patients. http://www.mcrc.manchester.ac.uk
About Cancer Research UK
Emily Head | EurekAlert!
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences