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UCSF Researchers Use New Tools to Move in on Cancer Susceptibility Genes
Date:1/12/2009

UCSF researchers have used a new strategy to study inherited susceptibility for skin cancer in mice. In the process, they have identified a network of genes that may play a key role in controlling this susceptibility. The technique, the scientists say, could be used to identify such genes in human cancers.

(PRWEB) January 12, 2009 -- UCSF researchers have used a new strategy to study inherited susceptibility for skin cancer in mice. In the process, they have identified a network of genes that may play a key role in controlling this susceptibility. The technique, the scientists say, could be used to identify such genes in human cancers.

The finding, reported in the Jan. 11, 2009 Advance Online Publication of Nature, builds on a promising technique called genetic network analysis, which allows scientists to analyze complex systems. The technique has been used to study heritable traits such as obesity and to study the workings of organs such as the human brain. However, it has never been used in cancer genetics, due to the complexity in studying how genetic differences influence whether an organism will develop cancer.

"This is the first time these techniques have been used to analyze cancer susceptibility. Using this framework, these methods should be applicable in many different areas of cancer research or other types of heritable diseases that thus far have been difficult to study," says senior study author Allan Balmain, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry and Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professor in Cancer Genetics at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Genetic network analysis produces a map of how key genes interact with each ot
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