Scientists have discovered seven genes that will allow doctors to predict how aggressive a patient’s cancer will be. The findings may lead to further research that will be able to predict patient survival and drugs that target the culprit genes.
Hundreds of gene mutations may contribute to brain cancers, the seven discovered are central to driving tumors’ growth. Researchers looked at the gene profiles of brain tumor samples from more than 500 cancer patients. The researchers specifically examined the interactions between genes.
Using this system analysis, they found 11 hub genes that are the key elements of a much larger web linked by biological functions, which in turn lead to emergent behavior. A risk prediction could be calculated for a patient from a sample of tumor, but only to a certain degree of certainty.
The Cosmic Perspective
Gene mapping is a wonderful idea. Doctors could possibly be able to diagnose and preempt diseases that have not even shown symptoms. Problem-causing genes could be treated before the disease they cause hits. But, with this new procedure, comes great risk. The possibility of eugenics, the removal of unwanted genes, comes to full light. We must remember, our variations is what make us strong in the face of calamity. Removing a cancer causing gene is one thing. But what happens when one wants to remove genes that cause short stature? Or remove the genes that cause black eyes? How far is too far? In Jurassic Park, Dr Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, said, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”