Federal Scientists Make Public Largest Cancer Gene Registry

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This week, scientists from the National Cancer Institute made public what some believe to be the largest-ever registry of cancer-related genetic variations, Reuters reports.

The researchers described the database in a report published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

About the Database

NCI researchers developed the database by sequencing 60 human cancer cell lines, which created a comprehensive list of cancer-specific variations for different parts of the body.

Potential Implications

According to Reuters, the large trove of data -- which is accessible to cancer researchers worldwide -- could help scientists discover connections between genetic mutations and develop more targeted treatments for patients by "block[ing] specific pathways that cancer cells use to grow and reproduce."

Yves Pommier, chief of NCI's Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, said the majority of current anti-cancer drugs have yet to be connected with specific genomics. However, with the development of the new registry, patients can be tested for particular genetic mutations that would help them respond positively to a specific anti-cancer drug (Beasley, Reuters, 7/15).

Sasha Willson

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