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!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences