Cancer is currently the world ’s second leading cause of death. In 2018 alone, 9.6 million people died from cancer. The World Health Organization predicts that the number of global cancer cases will increase by 60% in the next 20 years, becoming the world ’s largest cause of death.
In this way, the future may not become a reality. In the latest issue of Nature and its sub-issues, 21 papers on cancer research have been published. With the efforts of more than 1,300 scientists and doctors from 37 countries, Analysis of “cancer whole-genome”.
Leading the research is the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium (PCAWG). According to Nature, the research team performed whole-genome sequencing on 2658 cancer samples, covering 38 Different types of tumors.
In fact, after the first draft of the human genome was completed in 2001, sequencing the whole genome of cancer has become an important goal in the field of cancer research. In the past, the genetic analysis of cancer was basically focused on the genes encoding proteins, but these genes only accounted for the entire 1% of the genome, the formation of cancer cells in many patients cannot be explained by just 1% of the genes.
This study revealed the mutations in the remaining 99% of cancer genomes. Studies show that almost every cancer genome carries 4 to 5 genes that drive mutations, and only 5% of the genomes do not find such “driving genes.” It also means that by using random permutations and combinations of these “driver genes”, cancer can form thousands of cancerous genes.
Cancer originates from the genetic breakthrough of cells in the body. Due to the randomness of the genetic breakthrough, to a certain extent, there are no two cases of same cancer in the world. They are basically the same type of cancer, and the oncogenes may also be different, which has increased. Cancer treatment is difficult because patients appear to have same cancer and may respond completely differently to the same drug.
After the sequencing of the whole genome of the cancer is completed, this long-term problem of clinical treatment of cancer may be solved soon, said Dr. Peter Campbell, director of cancer genetics and genomics at the Sanger Institute:
We proved that the reasons for these different treatment effects are written in the DNA. Each patient’s cancer genome is unique, but there is a certain degree of DNA duplication, so through the study of a large amount of data, we can identify all these patterns. Optimize the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
It is reported that researchers have summarized the timeline of the first batch of gene mutations covering all types of cancers. Mike Stratton, one of the authors of the paper, said that through a detailed catalog of cancer DNA mutation markers, researchers around the world can now investigate related chemicals Or process.
This will deepen our understanding of how cancer develops and discover the causes of cancer formation, helping to shape cancer prevention and public health strategies.
Influencing factors of cancer
In addition to sequencing the whole genome side of cancer, in the remaining papers, the breakthrough mechanism and influencing factors of cancer genes were further explored, such as the evolution of cancer cells and the genetic driving factors in non-coding DNA, so that humans have a more comprehensive understanding of cancer. Recognition.
“Nature” also pointed out that the biggest limitation of the current research is the lack of clinical data on patient prognosis and treatment. These data can help people better understand the relationship between the genome and clinical treatment, but 100,000 cancers are being constructed. Patient genomic oncology research is expected to address this issue.
As the book “King of Diseases” states, cancer is sewn into our genome, and the anti-cancer war has pushed the concept of science and technology to the extreme because the subject being interfered with is our genome. Is it possible for us to end cancer in the future? The answer lies in these genes.