By Heidi Ledford
Databases worldwide are rapidly swelling with the sequences of thousands of cancer genomes. Now, some scientists are advocating that researchers shift their focus back in time: to study the DNA of tumours in their adolescence, before they commit to being cancerous.
At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Washington DC, researchers gathered on 2 April to discuss the growing call to sequence the genomes of pre-cancerous lesions — abnormal growths that sometimes progress into full-blown cancers. The results could help researchers to determine which tumours warrant treatment and could aid the development of therapies to block cancers on the path to malignancy.
It is a project that is now near the top of the cancer research wish list, says oncologist Elizabeth Jaffee of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “This is something that has really taken off throughout the cancer community,” she says.
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