Major study uncovers new breast cancer genes and opens the door for more discoveries

Published: Comments:
Health & Wellness Lifestyle Science & Research

Social:   

An international team of researchers has used a new scientific method to discover at least 12 new genes that influence the risk of developing breast cancer.

It is one of the first published transcriptome-wide association studies in the world to examine cancer risk and provides evidence to support this relatively new method for studying genes. The method is expected to help to speed up the discovery of more genes associated with cancer and other diseases, as well as drugs to target those genes.

The study was co-led by Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench and Dr Wei Shi from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and has been published today in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

“One of the research methods used by many geneticists worldwide over the last decade is the genome-wide association study. These studies have allowed us collectively to discover hundreds of genetic variants, or genetic markers, that influence our likelihood of developing certain cancers or of having certain traits, like being tall or being a coffee drinker,” Professor Chenevix-Trench said.

“While genome-wide association studies have advantages, there is a lot of information they don’t provide. For example, we can’t tell whether the genes associated with disease risk are expressed at a high or low level. In other words, we can’t tell whether the gene is turned up high like a very bright light, or is turned down low like a dim light.”

In the latest study published today, the researchers used a relatively new method known as a “transcriptome-wide association study”.

They examined approximately 8500 genes and determined whether they were likely to be turned up high or down low.

“We then looked at a much smaller group of these genes to find out what effect being turned up or down had on the risk of developing breast cancer,” Professor Chenevix-Trench said.

“In laboratory experiments, we found when we turned these 12 genes down, the cancer cells didn’t grow as well. This is an important finding because these genes were not previously known to influence the risk of developing breast cancer, and because no one has validated results from transcriptome wide association studies like this.

“In future, we hope drugs can be developed targeting those specific genes, and others like them, to turn them down and reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

“These findings are also significant because they show that transcriptome-wide association studies are likely to be very useful in helping us to find new genes to examine for cancer risk.

“This method also has several other advantages. It allows us to look at whole genes, rather than individual markers on the genes, and to study a much smaller number of genes.”

The study used data from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC).

 
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute :
PO Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, 4029, Brisbane
07 3845 3752
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
World's largest genetic study of cannabis use identifies 35 genes 28 August 2018 | An international team of researchers has conducted the biggest ever study into genetic predisposition for cannabis use and identified 35 genes that influence whether people are likely to ever use the drug. More information...
Hope for transplant patients after world-first Queensland immunotherapy trial 06 July 2018 | Organ transplant patients who face a lifetime of medication to ward off viral infection – or the potentially deadly threat of drug-resistant infection – may have new hope following a world-first clinical trial... More information...
Major study uncovers new breast cancer genes and opens the door for more discoveries 19 June 2018 | An international team of researchers has used a new scientific method to discover at least 12 new genes that influence the risk of developing breast cancer. More information...
Cancer a hit to the heart and the back pocket 11 June 2018 | One quarter of Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer will pay upfront doctors’ fees of more than $20,000 in the first two years, according to a new study shining a light on out-of-pocket costs for survivors. More information...
New genetic markers could help predict onset of debilitating eye disease 15 May 2018 | Scientists have discovered 19 new genetic markers that could predict whether a person is at a higher risk of eye disease. More information...
Researchers uncover how infant viral infections become childhood asthma 10 May 2018 | We have been able to show that young mice with a respiratory virus produce a cell messenger called prostaglandin 2 that actually makes it harder for their immune system to clear the viral infection. More information...
Global genetic study of skin colour unearths 14 new genetic markers 09 May 2018 | Scientists have doubled the number of genetic markers known to influence the ability of a person’s skin to tan. More information...
9 in 10 Australians don't know when they need sun protection 19 March 2018 | Australians could be unknowingly increasing their skin cancer risk, with new data released by Cancer Council today showing that 40 percent of Australians are still confused about which weather factors cause... More information...
Scientists identify new possibility for untreatable blood cancer 16 March 2018 | Scientists have discovered a new biomarker that could help to unlock the medical mystery behind an untreatable blood cancer that affects mostly older Australians. More information...
Online risk predictor to help identify people at high risk of melanoma 12 March 2018 | Researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have developed an online test for people aged 40 and over to predict their risk of developing melanoma over the next 3.5 years. More information...



Social:   
comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service