Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Cancers Share Gene Patterns, Studies Affirm"

Sally Kwok

Kolata, Gina. "DNA Studies Lend Weight to New Way of Looking at Cancer." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 May 2013. Web. 01 May 20

         The scientist found evidences that different types of cancers are linked together by the genetic code that triggered the changes, and should probably be identified that way instead of where the tumor originated. Proofs that contribute towards this notion and discovery is the fact that they have come to realize that many types of lethal breast cancer are similar to some types of ovarian cancer, and that many scientist have reported striking genetic changes in breast, lung, and colon cancer that (could) link to several other cancer. The problem with the current system is that cancer is determined by pathologist who evaluate thin slices of tumor and then decide whether it should be treated with surgery or radiation, and if it’s more serious, be treated with chemotherapy later. However it’s hard to distinguish which of the two broad treatment group the cancer should go into sometimes. The one discussed in the article is with endometrial cancer. However, now they have been able to determine that many endometrial cancers have a mutation in the gene very similar to colon cancer, and further down, to ovarian, and breast cancer, all of which might respond to the same drug.

This is relevant in the developing of medicine to cure cancer. If a cancer cell of some sort if to be found similar to some other cancer which had been found to respond very well to a certain type of medication or treatment, it would effectively cut down time in curing a specific patient and giving them a better chance for survival, as well save money, since they no longer have to go out and seek a different cure for something else they’ve already made that will suffice. Also, the three main cancer, breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer that I mentioned above targets mostly women, giving a larger population of women better treatment as well as lower mortality rate.

I really enjoyed reading this article about how the scientist are now narrowing in on the reason why cancer cells happen in the first place- gene mutation, or wrong DNA pairs- and connecting all these “random” cancers together. Concentrating on that will help them develop more effective cures that treat multiple type, and save more lives, instead of looking at them as individual cancers on separate body parts, they’re recognizing that there is some sort of web” connecting all these different types and that pushing a specific button could change more than just one cancer. The only thing I wished the article had done was perhaps mention several cancers only in men that they had linked together, and give examples of specific drugs they had used so far for the treatment of the three lethal cancers.


  1. I really enjoy reading your article. I found that you explained the relationship between genes and cancer very well. I like how you related this new discovery to science and showed how this is relevant to developing new cures and treatments for cancer. I liked how you clearly explained things such as the gene mutations and DNA pairings in a way that someone who may not have had much knowledge about biology would be able to understand. I was impressed that science is making strides towards finding cures and treatments for cancer, as it is very important and cancer is one of the most serious disease in the world. I was also impressed at how Sally worded her article. It was exteremly professional and well written. While I enjoyed reading Sally's article, I do wish she went into more depth explaining the current system of cancer and how this new discovery will change that.

  2. This article was very enjoyable to read. I really liked how you explained the problem with current system, and how pathologists decide to treat cancer with radiation or surgery. I found it also very interesting to see how scientists are coming closer to stopping or diminishing the cancer virus. It was great in your summery how you explained how the scientist are connection the random pairs of DNA that carry cancerous cells are linked together. I was extremely impressed on how Sally was able to summarize the article, gaining all the key factors and putting them into a summery. Although some revision might be required because i felt like i was reading a lot of run on sentences throughout the article.