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Wednesday 21st February 2018

Bowel cancer gene identified

9th July 2007

British-based scientists say they have identified a gene they believe increases the risk of bowel cancer by 20%.

Researchers highlighted the gene after scanning the DNA of more than 30,000 people, of which half had the disease.

The scientists, from London and Edinburgh, estimate that 50% of the population carry the genetic fault which is linked to one in 10 bowel cancers.

But, in the findings published in Nature Genetics, they say the increased risk is too small to require a genetic test, though in future as more genes associated with the condition are identified there is a possibility of a test to identify those most at risk.

The University of Edinburgh and the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit compared the DNA of about 8,000 bowel cancer patients from North America, France and Scotland to that of a similar number of healthy people to track down the gene.

In a second study, researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute identified the same faulty gene after analysing the DNA of a similar number of patients and healthy people from England.

Professor Malcolm Dunlop from the University of Edinburgh group said by understanding the genetic variants, scientists we will be in a better position to understand how such changes can lead to cancer.

Dr Rob Glynne-Jones, chief medical advisor at Bowel Cancer UK said: “This discovery of a common bowel cancer gene is further proof that we are really getting to grips with what causes bowel cancer.?


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