Canadian scientists: “major breakthrough” in cancer research

The Charger Bulletin

From the BNO Newsroom, as of 10/07/09 at 17:11 ET

VANCOUVER, CANADA (BNO NEWS) – Canadian scientists on Wednesday said they have achieved an unprecedented breakthrough in breast cancer research, opening new doors to new breast cancer treatment targets and therapies.

For the first time ever, scientists at the B.C. Cancer Agency were able to decode all of the three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a metastatic lobular breast cancer tumor, a type of breast cancer which accounts for about 10 percent of all breast cancer cases. The scientists were able to find all the mutations, or “spelling” mistakes that caused the cancer to spread further.

The results of the study will be published on Thursday as the cover story in the prestigious international science journal “Nature.” It helps unlock the secrets of how cancer begins and spreads, the agency said, thus pointing the way to the development of new breast cancer treatment targets and therapies.

“One in nine women is expected to develop breast cancer, and breast cancer accounts for 29 percent of all cancer diagnoses for B.C. women,” said Canadian Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “As a result of the efforts of the scientists behind the study, this breakthrough finding gives further hope to the thousands of women with this terrible disease.”

“I never thought I would see this in my lifetime,” Dr. Samuel Aparicio, head of the breast cancer research program and research team leader at the B.C. Cancer Agency, said.