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  • Writer's pictureSinead Mackintosh

Ovarian Cancer

High-grade serious ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) is a type of ovarian cancer and is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females in the US. But not much is known about how the disease begins.

In 2020, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine had found the specific genes that promote or delay cancer growth.

It was already known that multiple mutations typically cause HGSOC. Generally, 2 or 3 mutations are needed to make the cell turn cancerous. These mutations are often different combinations of genes that result in the same cancer.

Researchers found that once a single key genome-destabilising mutation occurs, other mutations will follow. This makes finding the specific cancer-causing gene challenging.

To tackle this, researchers tested out combinations of possible genes and then picked out the mutation that is causing cancer. They started with 20 genes known to mutate in HGSOC and used CRISPR (the new gene-editing tool) to make random mutations in ovarian cell samples.

They found that some mutated genes encourage cancer development, but some mutated genes inhibited cancer formation.

This information helps ovarian cancer patients who have tumour biopsies and genetic testing. This discovery will show medical professionals which mutations are important in the patient and could eventually lead to drugs specific to the cancer-causing mutation.

This is a good candidate for personalised medicine based on a person’s individual genetic mutations!

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