Scientists in England have discovered a ‘treasure trove’ of information which indicate previously unknown causes for cancer. The research could be used to prevent the disease’s occurrence.
In a discovery hailed the ‘biggest of its kind, researchers from Cambridge University, England uncovered “mutational signals” in the DNA of a selection of cancer patients.
The study involved researchers examining 12 thousand cancerous tumors, and the outcome for the research could help doctors with treatment and with prevention.
While lifestyle choices like smoking or using tanning beds have been well-known to contribute to an individual’s likelihood of developing cancer, the new research has led scientists to unearth a further 58 new mutational signatures which have developed due to causes we are yet to understand.
Understanding the causes and triggers of the tumors will also allow doctors to provide more effective treatment options.
“Whole genome sequencing gives us a total picture of all the mutations that have contributed to each person’s cancer,” said Dr Andrea Degasperi, a research associate at Cambridge University.
“With thousands of mutations per cancer, we have unprecedented power to look for commonalities and differences across NHS [National Health Service] patients, and in doing so we uncovered 58 new mutational signatures and broadened our knowledge of cancer.” Read more