It was also the first time that researchers saw a connection among solid kidney, skeleton, and liver cancers. While it was known that these cancers all develop in the embryo, they were previously analyzed independently. The TAU researchers have now confirmed that they share chromosomal characteristics and aberrations, much like various forms of leukemia or lymphomas.
Aberrations a driving force for cancer
Under normal circumstances, even a small change to a person's chromosomal structure can be devastating. For example, Down's syndrome is caused by a single extra copy of Chromosome 21. "But in cancer, there are many cases of extra or missing chromosomes. Yet cancer cells thrive more effectively than other cells," Prof. Shamir says.
Prof. Shamir hopes that future investigation into these chromosomal aberrations will give researchers more clues into why something that is so detrimental to our healthy development is so beneficial to this disease. Cancer is the result of sequences of events, he says, each causing the genome to become more mutated, mixed, and duplicated. Tracking these changes could aid our understanding of the driving forces of cancer's progress.
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University