Over 1,000 scientists worked together to build the most detailed picture of cancer ever published. Their studies, which were recently published in Nature, provide an almost complete look at all of these diseases.
That means future treatments could get tailored to each patient’s unique condition. Doctors believe that this work could eventually lead to processes that help to detect cancer at an earlier stage.
The scientists worked together in the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium. Their work includes the genetic doing of more than 2,600 conditions.
What Drives the Growth of Cancer?
Researchers with the project found that the average person has 4-5 fundamental mutations that drive the growth of cancer. These potential weak spots can have treatments that exploit the condition to remove the corrupted cells.
That’s good news from a treatment standpoint. The bad news is that the project found that about 5% of cancers don’t have mutations driving growth. That means there is more work to do.
Some of the mutations that cause cancer were found to occur years, and sometimes decades before doctors discovered the condition. By unlocking the genetic patterns today, new diagnostic tests can start to pick up the signs and symptoms sooner – even before an individual realizes that they are sick.
Cancer can be a massively complex diagnosis. Thousands of different mutation combinations are possible, which is why finding the correct treatment method can be challenging. This work means that the entire medical approach is about to evolve, and that means more lives can be saved.