Genetic fixer-uppers may help predict bladder cancer prognosis
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HERSHEY, Pa. — Mutations in genes that help repair damage to DNA may aid in predicting the prognosis of patients with bladder and other related cancers, according to researchers.

The researchers found that bladder cancer patients who had mutations in their ATM or RB1 genes — proteins that help repair DNA damage when they’re functioning normally — tended not to live as long as patients without the mutations.

Dr. Monika Joshi, assistant professor of medicine, Penn State Cancer Institute, said that as researchers try to design better treatments for cancer patients, it’s important for them to find biomarkers that can help researchers understand the differences between patients and their prognoses.

“We’re coming to realize that not every cancer patient is the same,” Joshi said. “We see some patients responding to therapies, while others do not. Treatments like chemotherapy and immunotherapy, do not have a 100 percent response rate. So we’re trying to delve deeper to better understand biological differences between patients.”

According to the researchers, mutations or defects in DNA repair genes — like ATM and RB1 — play a role in tumor growth and how the cancer responds to treatment, and are often found in patients with bladder

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