New gene linked to throat cancer discovered

9 March 2012

A specific gene linked to the development of throat cancer has been identified, which could create enhancements for detecting such a serious disease.

Researchers based at King's College London, who teamed up with scientists at Japan's Hiroshima University, believe that the discovery of a mutation in the ATR gene could significantly alter how cancer biology is studied.

In order to establish the specific gene, the researchers focused on ten members of a family in the US who have each developed throat cancer.

Results of the study revealed that each of the family members with the disease had a single mutation in ATR, yet those unaffected had no sign of the same mutation in their bodies.

Professor John McGrath, of the King's College London Genetic Skin Disease Group, commented: "This is an intriguing study which not only provides a genetic explanation for an unusual syndrome, but also provides a unique novel insight into how the ATR gene may be associated with a specific form of cancer."

The problems surrounding oral cancer have been highlighted by Cancer Research UK, which revealed that 5,410 people were diagnosed with the disease across the UK in 2007 alone.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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