Thursday, June 4, 2009

Down Syndrome Gene Could Fight Cancer

The Boston Globe published A Medical Puzzle Yields Cancer Clue - Downs Gene Starves Growth of Tumors on June 1, 2009. The news article reports this amazing groundbreaking discovery saying:
"...their discovery could provide a beacon to scientists developing treatments and preventive medications designed to be broadly effective against cancer, wherever it resides in the body."
"The scientists discovered that the extra chromosome carried by people with Down syndrome - which causes the condition's distinctive features - harbors a gene responsible for starving tumors of the blood they need to survive and flourish."
"...these individuals with Downs potentially hold a secret that might lead to quite substantial and revolutionary new treatments for cancer."

Note that this significant finding connects the Down syndrome gene to possibly developing treatments and preventive medications to solid tumors, excuding leukemia, which is a blood-borne cancer.

Cancer is hereditary in our family, at least on my dad's side of the family. Two years ago, my grandpa (my dad's dad) in the Philippines was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and passed away a few months later. I found out about his diagnosis via an overseas phone call from my dad, which was coincidentally the same day that I found out I was pregnant with Matthew. The fact that I got happy news and sad news in one day doesn't indicate anything but pure coincidence. But because of the diagnoses of cancer and Down syndrome with two people near and dear to me, this news article struck a chord with me.

I look at Matthew and remember what my aunt had said when he was born: "Matthew has yet to touch so many people's lives in the many years to come!" I never imagined that one of the ways could possibly be through genetics, with the potential to alter the medical landscape for cancer treatments. That is simply incredible!


Lori said...

That's absolutely amazing!! I had not heard about this, thanks so much sharing it with us!!

Debbie said...

good info to have!!! JEB is going to be nine yrs old next Friday!!! Can't believe it's been that long.....time flies by so fast!!!

Talk to you later!!!