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Monday 24th October 2016

DNA test for bowel cancer

7th March 2011

Cambridge researchers have made a significant move towards the production of a DNA test to find the early symptoms of bowel cancer.


The researchers, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute at Cambridge University, performed tests on genes to distinguish between polyps and tumours in the bowel.

Although not all polyps in the bowel develop into cancer, it is believed that nearly all bowel cancer cases grow from polyps.

The study, published in the journal Gut, looked at 261 samples from patients who had bowel cancer or benign polyps.

The researchers were particularly interested in DNA methylation, which play a key role in how cells develop.

Dr Ashraf Ibrahim, the lead author of the study, said examining molecular changes could help to diagnose bowel cancer more easily in years to come.

"The molecular signals, which tell genes whether to make proteins or not, can become jumbled in cancer cells. We've identified several places where this signal becomes damaged and shown this is linked to bowel cancer development."

 "The majority of bowel cancers develop from benign polyps that turn cancerous - and this crucial research deepens our understanding of the molecular changes behind this development. This... could lead to a simple test to search DNA for the early signs of the disease," he explained.

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