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New pathway provides more clues about BRCA1 role in breast cancer
Date:1/15/2008

signal the cell to repair itself, Bennett said. When BRCA1 does not function correctly, as when it is mutated, DNA damage remains un-repaired and cancer can occur.

The researchers applied their findings in yeast to human breast cancer cells, with the same results.

The fact that we were able to duplicate our results in human breast cancer cells is hugely important, said Bennett. Yeast is a wonderful model organism that has been used to make significant discoveries in many areas of science and medicine, including Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases, but the ability to replicate results in human cells is key.

Bennett said the discovery will lay the groundwork for further investigation of the role of BRCA1 and possibly lead to new therapeutic strategies targeting the genes or protein products within this pathway.

Women who have inherited a BRCA1 mutation have up to an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, and they are also at risk for developing the disease at much younger ages than women without the mutation, according to the American Cancer Society. Their risk for developing ovarian cancer is about 40 to 50 percent, compared to just over one percent for the general population. The mutation is most often found in women with Eastern European Jewish origin, but can be found in women of any race.

Someday we hope that this research will lead to the development of more effective ways to treat both the women who have inherited a mutated copy of the BRCA1 gene and those who have not, Bennett said.


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Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams
lauren.shaftel@duke.edu
919-684-4966
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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