Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:37 am

Discovery paves way for cancer breakthrough

University of Cape Town (UCT) researchers have identified genetic patterns for six common types of cancer – breast, colon, lung, kidney, ovarian and brain.

Each of these common cancers has a unique genetic expression pattern that can be used for accurate early diagnosis and targeted, specialised treatment.

The discovery was made by Professor Kevin Naidoo, the SA Research Chair in Scientific Computing in the Department of Chemistry at UCT, and Dr Jahanshah Ashkani, also of the UCT Chemistry Department.

New hope for cancer patients

Professor Naidoo is now leading a multi-laboratory collaboration to analyse the blood samples of South African patients.

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They hope to develop a low-cost gene expression tool for breast cancer that will form the basis of a routinely used early diagnostic. An early cancer diagnostic is critical for patient survival, as most cancers can be cured if discovered in their early stages.

Of similar importance is the choice of cancer treatment. The use of the GT gene profile method of identifying the distinct subtypes of cancers opens the door to further research that will guide the choice of specialised treatment to significantly enhance a patient’s chances. This dovetails with the shift towards personalised medicine approaches that deliver specialised oncotherapy to patients following diagnosis.

Source and further reading: University of Cape Town

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