Divide and Conquer

21 04 2012

Written by Damian

Breast cancer has been a problem for years, but soon, we may be able to fight this destructive disease in a way that does not always take all your hair out, and works close to 100% of the time. This is because the general belief was that cancer is one disease that you treat in every way you can and hope one method works. Scientists now are finding that there are multiple versions of cancers each with different effects, strengths and weaknesses that can be diagnosed and treated separately.

Scientists have thought for some time, that cancer is not just one disease, but multiple diseases clumped together, all different mutations, all with different weak points. This theory has now been confirmed, and expanded on, by a team of researchers at the UBC Molecular Oncology center.

The team used samples of intact tumors, looking at the DNA and RNA to see differences on the molecular level. Findings showed that there were around ten significantly different types of cancer of the breast. The researchers then looked at the symptoms of each case and pieced together the first part of a cancer encyclopedia. One cancer mutation may be slow-moving, and suddenly attack years later, or attack and strongly, but then die at the slightest counter attack.

Though only breast cancer has been looked at so far, teams of scientists all over the world are working to complete this encyclopedia that could save millions of lives.

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