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India can bring down cost for Breast Cancer Detection, says US Scientist

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Breast Cancer (representational Image), Pixabay

Kolkata, Feb 28, 2017: American genome expert Mary-Claire King, whose work resulted in the identification of the breast cancer gene BRCA1 and transformed the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, on Tuesday expressed faith in Indian scientists to make technology cheaper for breast cancer detection.

“We need to tackle this problem with modern 21st-century tools. The actual cost of sequencing patients dropped from about $4,000 to $250 (around Rs 16,000) in the US in the last few years. Indians are incredibly good at making technology better, faster and cheaper,” she said.

King was addressing a packed audience of researchers, students and faculty at a lecture here on ‘Understanding Inherited Breast and Ovarian Cancer: From Gene Discovery to Precision Medicine and Public Health’ for The Cell Press-TNQ India distinguished Lectureship Series, 2017. It was supported by National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani.

For India, the US National Medal of Science awardee proposed that every breast and ovarian cancer patient be tested genetically for mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2 as well as other known breast and ovarian cancer genes.

Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer.

“My proposition for India is every breast and ovarian cancer patient should be sequenced for mutations to BRCA1 and BRCA2 and all other known breast and ovarian cancer genes. I am not suggesting that in the resource-limited context here that all women above the age of 30 be screened, just begin with patients,” said the University of Washington professor.

Testing could help women predisposed to mutations to make an informed choice on whether to opt for risk-reducing surgery, chemoprevention and also encourage follow-ups of sisters and daughters of patients (there’s a 50 percent chance of passing it along).

The 71-year-old active researcher dubbed cervical cancer a “disease of poor women” while breast cancer is one of those “rare conditions that is a disease of prosperity”.

“The reason that breast cancer incidences are going up is because we are the most successful mammals that have ever lived, by this we mean we are fabulous. We are fertile longer, we are able and we are fit, we retain cognitive functions longer,” she added.

In addition to her work on identifying breast cancer genes, King is recognised worldwide for demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99 per cent genetically identical and applying genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina wanted King to find their kidnapped grandchildren). (IANS)

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Exposure to Dim Light Escalates Breast Cancer’s Spread to Bones

X-ray images showed that mice exposed to a light or dim light cycle had much larger tumours and increased bone damage compared with mice kept in a standard light/dark cycle

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Exposure to dim light at night may contribute to spreading of breast cancer to bones, researchers have shown in an animal study.

When breast cancer spreads it often affects bones, cause severe pain and make them fragile. “To date no one has reported that exposure to dim light at night induces circadian disruption, which increases spread of bone metastatic breast cancer,” said Muralidharan Anbalagan, Assistant Professor, at Tulane University in New Orleans.

The findings were presented at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

For the preliminary study, the team created a mouse model of bone metastatic breast cancer. They injected oestrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cells, which have a low propensity to grow in bones, into the tibia (shinbone) of female mice.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

Like humans, mice produced a strong night-time circadian melatonin signal, shown to produce strong anti-cancer actions and for promoting sleep.

While one group of mice was kept in the light for 12 hours each day, the other group of three mice in the dark for 12 hours. Another group spent 12 hours in light, followed by 12 hours in dim light at night.

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X-ray images showed that mice exposed to a light or dim light cycle had much larger tumours and increased bone damage compared with mice kept in a standard light/dark cycle, he noted.

“Our research identified the importance of an intact nocturnal circadian melatonin anti-cancer signal in suppressing bone-metastatic breast tumour growth,” Anbalagan said. (IANS)