A Labor Day salute to the hard-working scientists—doctors, PhDs, lab techs, technology inventors—who have done some heavy lifting to peer into the tiniest recesses of cells, genes, and molecules to unravel what makes colorectal cancer happen.
In the widest and deepest effort to date, the Cancer Genome Atlas Project has produced some surprises and key clues about colorectal cancer, published recently in the journal Nature.
It was almost “ industrial-strength genetics to try to unpick and take apart the genetic coding,” according to Dr. David Kerr, professor at the University of Oxford and Past President of the European Society for Medical Oncology.
One of the surprises for colorectal cancer—the third cancer they’ve analyzed—is that “colon and rectal cancer are genetically virtually indistinguishable,” said Kerr. “This puts to rest a mythology …that rectal and colon cancers are somehow different beasts… There is no molecular basis for that whatsoever. They have put that mythology to bed.” Read the rest of this entry »