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Combined physical and genetic map finds cancer's 'ignition key'
Date:5/5/2008

HOUSTON Whole-organ maps that superimpose genetic information over the terrain of cancerous bladders chart the molecular journey from normal cell to invasive cancer, an international research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports online at the journal Laboratory Investigation, a member of the Nature Publishing Group.

By geographically relating an organs varied tissues normal, precancerous and malignant to their underlying genetic variation or regulation, the team also identified a crucial new category of genes that launches the process of cancer development.

These forerunner genes are the ignition key that starts the engine of carcinogenesis, said senior author Bogdan Czerniak, M.D., Ph.D., professor in M. D. Andersons Department of Pathology.

Discovery of forerunner genes opens an entirely new field of investigation to identify biomarkers for the early detection and prevention of cancer, Czerniak said. Inactivation of these genes occurs during cancers invisible stage, when it is undetectable by traditional means.

The team reports that forerunner genes must be shut down before a major tumor-suppressing gene called RB1 is silenced, paving the way for invasive cancer. By characterizing the genetic aspects of all tissue types in the organ, the researchers illuminated the sequence of events that carries a normal cell through various stages to invasive cancer. In the case of bladder cancer, they identified three waves of genetic hits that drive the process.

Czerniaks unique approach is called whole organ histologic and genetic mapping, which combines genetic information with microscopic study of the organ tissue, or histology.

Biomarkers for detection, prevention, treatment

Czerniaks mapping techniques and the teams findings are seminal work, said T. Sudhir Srivastava, Ph.D., chief of the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention of the Natio
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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