The concept that the cells at the heart of cancer differ between individuals is not new. Already, breast cancers are classified based on these differences, a cancer can be :
- estrogen positive or negative,
- HER-2 positive or negative.
This vital information, helps doctor’s to select drugs which are likely to kill that particular cancer.
Hoping to be able to identify new targets, researchers decided to unpack the genes coding 50 breast tumours. The undertaking was enormous – requiring over 10 trillion chemical bases of DNA to be decoded.
50 breast tumours – 1700 “mistakes”
All the tumours included in the study, started out falling into the category of estrogen receptor positive, which means that these cancer cells, were all being “switched on”, by the hormone estrogen.
The women in the study were being given drugs to lower their estrogen levels, so that the “on switch” was turned down. Around 50 % of the women responded to the treatment, the rest didn’t. Highlighting the need to understand what is going on at the genomic level.When the data from the trillion DNA codes was in.More-or-less the only thing the tumours had in common, was that estrogen switch. Each tumour was unique from a genetic perspective. The researchers found that within the 50 tumours examined, there were 1700 different “mistakes” (mutations).
A few patterns emerged
Two genes popped up frequently
- PIK3CA was found in 40 % of the tumours
- TP53 was found in 20 % of the tumours
Three genes appeared in around 10 % of the tumours MAP3K1, ATR and MYST3 .
21 other genes were found to be mutated, in two or three patients.
Leaving a lot of one of a kind, unique “mistakes”.
The variability was astounding
The researchers were a little shocked to discover the huge amount of variation.
The study did give them a few new targets to work with, but the huge variability dampened the hopes that personalized cancer treatment is just round the corner.
Treating cancer is likely to remain a challenge in the foreseeable future.
The best defence is a good offence
It is estimated that every day, 1000 cells get it wrong – they make a mistake copying the DNA and create a genetic aberration. But cancer is exceedingly rare.
Despite the high error rate, the body has a sophisticated built in tumour surveillance system which is always scanning for nasty looking cells. When they are identified the cells are immediately marked for destruction.
You cannot change your genes, but you can influence the environment in which your cells find themselves.
Avoid the things that increase the rate of mistakes, such as
Try to get the 7 Big Spoons™ “right” , this will keep your internal tumour surveillance system in tip top shape and so decrease the chances that one of those “mistakes”, takes you out.
|Balance Eicosanoids||Rein in insulin||Dial down stress||Sleep !||Increase Vit D||Culivate microflora||Think champion|
|GUT bacteria salvage overcooked broccoli’s anti-cancer powers||Colon cancer fat busting yoghurt coming to a supermarket shelf near you||It is not ALL in your genes but on your dinner plate|
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..