Friday, 28 September 2012

Dr Ramaswamy Govindan: In a major study that could help treat lung cancer at the genetic level, an Indian origin doctor in the USA has for the first time landscaped the genome of cancer cells in both smokers and non-smokers. Smokers showed a higher number of mutations than people, who never smoke in their life

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 27: In a major study that could help treat lung cancer
at the genetic level, an Indian origin doctor in the USA has for the
first time landscaped the genome of cancer cells in both smokers and
non-smokers. Smokers showed a higher number of mutations than people,
who never smoke in their life.

Dr Ramaswamy Govindan, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology at
Washington University School of Medicine, USA, and his team have found
several new gene alterations in cancer patients, not previously
reported.

“The number of mutations in never smokers with lung cancer is
significantly lower than in smokers. By looking at the entire genome
of tumour specimens, we found at least one critical gene mutation that
can be treated in every one of our never smokers,” Dr Ramaswamy told
this correspondent.

He said with new tools and technologies, the team will now study the
tumor genomic landscape to identify new targets for treatment of
cancer. “This is going to revolutionize our treatment”.

Cancer is the disease where by genes inside the cells get altered
(mutated). There are trillions and trillions of normal cells in the
body. Each and every cell has about 2,00,000 genes. These genes get
altered more if one smoker or drinks or eat poor and unhealthy diet.

About 10 per cent of patients with lung cancer in the US and Europe do
not report any history of smoking. The number of non- smokers with
lung cancer is high in certain parts of Asia including India.

Lung cancer in never smokers for some peculiar reasons affects women
more than men. “We did a study of looking at all these genes in cancer
specimens from patients with lung cancer. We compared the full
complement of Genomes not only from the patients’ tumour cells but
also from their normal cells to figure out how many and what
genes were uniquely altered in lung cancer specimens,” he added.

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