Study reveals every bowel tumor and bowel cancer cell have unique genetic fingerprints
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New research on bowel cancer has shown that every tumour is different, and that every cell within the tumour is also genetically unique. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK and Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) in Utrecht, The Netherlands, used the latest single cell and organoid technologies to understand the mutational processes of the disease.

Reported in Nature, the study will help researchers understand mutational processes, and may allow them to target cancer-specific processes for prevention or treatment.

The team worked on tissue from three patients with colorectal cancer, taking normal bowel stem cells and cells from four different areas of the tumours. They then grew these into organoids – 3D ‘mini-guts’ – in the laboratory to amplify the single cells so they could be studied.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide making up about 10 per cent of all cancer cases, in the UK alone, over 41 thousand people are diagnosed with the disease every year*.

It was known that colorectal tumours contain subclones that react differently to treatment; however, until now it has not been possible to study single cells from tumours and normal tissue to

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