Breast Cancer Researchers Hail 'Milestone' Study
Calling their new findings a key stepping-stone to developing new drugs for treating breast cancer, scientists in the United Kingdom say they now have a clearer picture of the genetic factors behind the disease.
In the study, the largest of its kind, an international research team looked at 3 billion letters of genetic code and uncovered 93 sets of instructions that can cause tumors if mutated.
Professor Sir Mike Stratton, director of the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, told the BBC: "Now we have this complete view of breast cancer -- there are 93 of those [genes] that if mutated will convert a normal breast cell into a breast cancer cell. That is an important piece of information."
Still, Professor Stratton expects that it could be a decade, or more, before any new drugs that are developed based on this new research make their way to market: "Cancers are devious beasts," he said, noting the disease's ability to resist therapies. "I'm optimistic, but it's a tempered optimism."