A new research confirms the evidence that there is indeed the role of a group of virus fighting genes in the development of cancer. It is the of genes control enzymes that are believed to have evolved in humans to fight off viral infections. Scientists have speculated that these enzymes are responsible for a very distinct signature of mutations that is present in approximately half of all cancer types.
The research team studied the genomes of breast cancer in the patients who had a specific inherited deletion in two of these APOBEC genes. In the research they found that these cancer genomes had a greater prevalence of the distinct mutational signature that is thought to be driven by the APOBEC family of genes.Dr. Serena Nik-Zainal who is the first author from the Welcome Trust Sagner Institute said that the the increased frequency of this common cancer signature in breast cancer patients with APOBEC gene abnormalities supports our theory that these enzymes play a role in generating this mutational signature.
The particular genetic is found on chromosome 22 where the APOBEC genes, APOBEC3A andAPOBEC3B, sit next to each other. Women with this genetic deletion have previously been reported to be more susceptible to breast cancer. Out of the 923 samples of breast cancer that was collected from women from across the world it was found that more than 140 of them with either one or two copies of deletion on each chromosome. Those women who had breast cancer with deletion had a greater quantity of mutations of the particular genetic signature.
This genetic deletion is much more prevalent in some populations than others: it is found in only 8 per cent of Europeans, but is present in 93 per cent of the population of Oceania.
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