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Bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma caused by faulty gene

Published on 28/11/2011

Scientists have identified the genes responsible for a certain type of bone marrow cancer, leading to hope that they could soon develop improved diagnosis and treatment.

The new study, published in the online journal Nature Genetics, has revealed that a person’s genes can increase the risk of developing a certain type of bone marrow cancer by 30 per cent.

Multiple Myeloma is an aggressive form of the disease which affects the plasma cells inside the bone marrow. The cancer doesn’t exist as a lump or a tumour, and is usually only diagnosed when symptoms like bone pain start to occur.

Until now, no responsible gene had been identified for the disease. Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) used a technique called a genome wide association study to scan the DNA of 1,675 patients with multiple myeloma, and 5,900 healthy people.

The results showed that two regions of DNA were more common in people with multiple myeloma, and linked to a higher chance of developing the disease. Eric Low, chief executive of Myeloma UK, said:

'Understanding the biological and genetic basis for the onset and progression of myeloma is extremely important and will lead to better screening, earlier diagnosis and treatment in the future.'

Currently there is no cure for multiple myeloma, but treatments can control the progression- the average patient survives around three to five years after diagnosis.

Patients with private medical insurance often have access to new drugs and treatments for cancer not available on the NHS. Medical insurance is designed to cover new conditions, so it is essential to compare health insurance policies as an investment for your future health.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
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