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Researchers Explore The Cancer Genome

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Aired 12/22/09

San Diego scientists are involved in an international effort to map a human genome that's sick with cancer. Cancer is built on cell mutations that alter the genome we inherit from our parents.

— San Diego scientists are involved in an international effort to map a human genome that's sick with cancer.

Cancer is built on cell mutations that alter the genome we inherit from our parents. Scientists with two San Diego biotech companies have co-written papers that describe cancer genomes. David Bentley, chief scientist at Illumina, co-wrote the paper on the skin cancer melanoma. He said the goal is to develop new cancer drugs that hit the right targets.

"We anticipate being able to learn there are certain areas that are commonly mutated in different melanomas," said Bentley. "And this will provide us clues to the vital targets, the new targets by which it will be most appropriate to target new drugs."

Cancer genomes must be mapped in many more individuals before scientists can identify those common mutations. Bentley says the work is being driven by the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

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