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Common Signature Exists in all Cancers

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BALTIMORE, Jun 23, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S.-led research team has found a gene-expressed signature common to all cancers, offering new hope for universal treatments and improved diagnosis.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Institute of Bioinformatics in India said a signature consisting of 67 genes was abnormally expressed in all cancers. These genes play a large role in the cell cycle, especially as a cell prepares for division, the study.

Scientists generally abandoned their search for a common cancer therapy after research in the 1970s showed many types of cancer exist, and that even similar types of cancer can exist differently from person to person. These biological differences prompted tailored treatments for each individual.

The discovery of the common signature gives new hope to universal approaches, the researchers said.

Researchers created an online searchable database of 40 data sets they had analyzed and loaded the gene expression "fingerprints" of more than 3,700 cancer tissue samples. They found not only a common signature to all cancers, but also another that distinguished more aggressive tumors from the less aggressive ones.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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