Mutated gene found in several cancer types
VANCOUVER, British Columbia— Researchers at the B.C. Cancer Agency and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have discovered a mutated gene, DICER1, in tumors of several different cancer types. The gene is present in all humans and normally runs several other genes within cells, but the mutated form wreaks havoc. This discovery showed the DICER1 mutation to be present in certain ovarian, testicular, uterine and muscular cancers, suggesting the possibility of a single treatment for a wide range of cancers. According to one of the team's leaders, David Huntsman, genetic pathologist and director of the Ovarian Cancer Program of B.C., the next steps will be to determine the mutation's effects at the cellular level and on treatment response.
"It's a thrilling time to be part of something where we realize that when people look back and say, 'our understanding of cancer shifted fundamentally around now,'" added Huntsman.