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Jefferson scientists see breast cancer gene activity from outside the body
Date:11/28/2007

are intended to find cancer gene activity as quickly as possible and guide the choice of therapy based on which genes are most active.

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 40,000 women in this country will die from breast cancer in 2007. Yet, clinical examination and mammography can miss almost half of the breast cancers in women under 40, approximately one-quarter of cancers in women ages 40 to 49 and one-fifth of cancers in women over age 50.

When suspect lumps are discovered, biopsies are necessary to determine if the lumps are cancerous, Dr. Thakur points out. However, more than three-fourths of the lumps are found to be benign. Mammography, an invaluable screening technique, sees shapes but not gene activity. Genetic PET scanning is a minimally invasive, sensitive and specific technique that might detect cancers with high efficiency in adult women and young women without breast compression. The researchers expect that RHI will be tested in clinical trials in suspected cases of breast cancer.

Dr. Wickstrom, Dr. Thakur, and their co-workers have found that RHI works for detecting the activity of other cancer genes in other types of tumors as well. Early detection saves lives, Dr. Thakur says. Several other cancers show characteristic activated genes that we might be able to use for early diagnosis, such as pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, and colon cancer. The investigators are also exploring genetic agents designed for magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescence imaging.


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Contact: Steve Benowitz
steven.benowitz@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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