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How healthy cells mutate into cancer cells


Narrator:        This is Science Today. A new study charting the evolution of skin cancer offers insight into how other types of cancer mutate from healthy cells into malignant tumors. Dermatologist Raymond Cho of the University of California, San Francisco says they were able to determine the order in which genetic mutations emerge as skin cancer cells evolves - devising a method of teasing out cancer cell DNA that can be widely applied to other cancers.  

Cho:                This study was done looking at squamous-cell carcinomas of the skin, but they also have counterparts in the lung and esophagus that can cause much more frequently serious disease. We showed that particular ordering involving the p53 tumor suppressor occurs not only in squamous-cell carcinomas to the skin but also in ovarian adeno-carnicomas. And so these types of methods can be applied to virtually any cancer.

Narrator:        Their work could help doctors develop new diagnostics for detecting early cancers, as well as develop new cancer therapies

Cho:                Once we get better and better at applying these methods to a number of different cancers, we should be able to understand exactly what treatment modalities and what types of diagnostics are better suited for the individual types.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.