Cancer, the most dreaded malady, continues to be a major source of worry for both patients and their physicians. Worldwide, healthcare organizations, research institutions, and universities are expending a lot of time and money on research and development of possible breakthrough treatments. The latest development in that direction has been a new technique that would allow scientists to examine effects of gene mutations in much less time and on a much larger scale. This would expedite the process of treatment by helping doctors find the appropriate drugs for a more targeted treatment.
The technique, developed at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, is expected to not just find customized cure for cancer, but also other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
How it Works
The most daunting task in the process of finding a cure for cancer or any other genetic disease is comprehending the effect of gene mutations. The process is protracted and often frustrating. The research team from University of Virginia School of Medicine led by J. Julius Zhu, PhD, has now found a way to speed it up. According to Zhu, with the new technique one can examine 40 to 100 genes and mutations simultaneously instead of the usual one gene and one mutation at a time.
Zhu and his team studied almost 50 mutations of the BRaf gene, which are related to tumors and to a particular neurodevelopmental disorder called cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome to prove the efficacy of their process. The new technique can also be useful in finding why previous experimental treatments failed and also find patients for whom it may prove helpful.