Cancer Breakthrough!

By | December 17, 2009

Scientists crack ‘entire genetic code’ of lung and skin cancer.

Professor Mike Stratton:

This is a fundamental moment in cancer research. From here on in we will think about cancers in a very different way. We will think about them in terms of the number of abnormalities…

  • Wollff

    One should probably not judge such things on a 2 minute video, but from what I see here there is some fundamental misrepresentation of what was actually done and the significance of what was actually done.
    Science fudging for funding at its best.
    Excuse me, going to vomit now.

    Okay, first of all this wasn’t done for “cancer”, but for one specific type of lung cancer and for one spcific type of skin cancer.
    Then he talks about finding 30 000 mutations in them. Wonderful, but not surprising, since in the “making of a cancer cell” the DNA repair mechanisms normally go kaputt and thus mutations start to accumulate.
    The important thing is to identify the few mutations that matter in the first few cycles of division. It seems that he has 30 000 loci that differ from a normal human genome, but we have no more idea about which of them really matter than we did before.

    Don’t misunderstand me, the research here is genuine and not without merit. But it’s not the great breakthrough it’s made up to be.

  • Anonymous

    “The International Cancer Genome Consortium scientists from the 10 countries involved say it will take them at least five years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete this mammoth task.”

    In an era when our government is handing out multi-billion dollar bailouts, it seems that ‘many hundreds of thousands’ should be a simple resource allocation to fingerprint all of the DNA for “Cancer”

    I think the main problem with being so future-thinking is that the present feels so primitive and barbaric.

  • http://www.blog.speculist Stephen Gordon

    Anonymous: Relative to the world I was born into, I find myself constantly amazed at the progress that’s being made here in the future.

    Wollff: I think you may want to see a doctor about that vomiting. It has to be a stomach bug because nothing in this article merits nausea. I mean… dude… we have for the first time the entire genetic code of two forms of cancer. That’s what we call “a good thing.”

    “first of all this wasn’t done for “cancer”, but for one specific type of lung cancer and for one specific type of skin cancer.”

    There was no effort made in this blog post, in the BBC article I linked to, or in this video to obscure the fact that only two cancers have been sequenced.

    Obviously you can’t sequence the DNA of “cancer.” You sequence te DNA of specific cancers. And yet this can accurately be called a watershed moment in cancer research generally.

    We now have intel on an enemy that has plagued us since the beginning. We will use this information to exploit that enemy’s weaknesses. It will take time and money, but it will be done.

    “It seems that he has 30,000 loci that differ from a normal human genome, but we have no more idea about which of them really matter than we did before.”

    Maybe they should start by finding the genes for cell division. You know, I bet they have already thought of that.

    While some researchers are learning to exploit the weaknesses of the cancers just sequenced, others will be sequencing the DNA of other cancers.

    Don’t confuse cynicism with sophistication. No, they didn’t deliver a pill that cures cancer in time for the holidays this year, but this is a great moment in cancer research.