Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

Pinpointed: A Gene That Can Figure In Colon Cancer


Developments to Watch

PINPOINTED: A GENE THAT CAN FIGURE IN COLON CANCER

For decades, scientists have noticed that colon cancer tends to run in families. But it wasn't clear why. Is the disease the result of a shared environment in these cases--which account for about 10% of all colon cancers? Or are nefarious genes at work? The question prompted an international team of researchers, led by Bert Vogelstein at Johns Hopkins University and Albert de la Chapelle of the University of Helsinki, to spend the last four years painstakingly searching for a genetic cause--without knowing whether it really existed. "It was very frustrating," recalls Vogelstein. "We wondered if we were wasting our time."

But now, the researchers have found the gene. While they have yet to pinpoint the exact mutation, they do know that it appears to be present in about 1 in every 200 people, making colon cancer the most common inherited disease. What's more, as they report in the May 7 issue of Science, the gene exerts its effect in a novel way. When flawed, it leads to damage in other pieces of DNA, particularly in those genes that have already been linked to rarer forms of inherited colon cancers. The scientists expect the discovery to lead to a diagnostic test within six months--and eventually result in better therapies.EDITED BY PETER COY AND WILLIAM D. MARBACH


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus