Scientists discover gene that could reduce risk of developing cancer
A BRITISH STUDY has found that almost 40% of the population carry an anti-cancer gene that could be identified by a simple blood test.
The development means that patients could be warned at an early age that they are prone to the disease, and make changes in their way of life to protect against it.
It also raises the possibility of helping to develop a cure for the disease.
Scientists from University College London Institute of Child Health studied 419 patients and found those with a particular variant of the gene were protected against child cancers, leukaemia and colon cancer.
The study, published in the journal Oncogene, found that 40% of Italians had the particular variant of the gene found to give protection, compared with 50% of people of African descent and 10% of white Americans.
The British population was not specifically examined, but Dr Arturo Sala, who led the research, said he expected the gene to occur in the same proportion as in Italy.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: ‘What is important is that there is not a particular type of cancer, the protection seems to be against different forms of cancer.
‘Before, it wasn’t known whether this gene was directly involved in cancer. Knowing what are the key genes involved in cancer generally could lead to a cure, but this would be a long way down the line.’