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More than two decades following the discovery that mutations in the BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene #1) predispose omen to breast cancer, Yale researchers have pinpointed the molecular mechanism that allows these mutations to cause havoc. Soon after the discovery of BRCA, investigators believed that mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 might account for 7% to 8% of breast cancer ovarian cancers. However, the cancer risk is a lot higher, as in many cancer cases the expression of the BRCA (cancer suppressing) gene is silenced even though no mutation can be found. Dr. Sung and colleagues demonstrated that interaction of BRCA1 with its partner BARD1 is necessary to recruit the exact genetic sequence needed to repair breaks in DNA caused by endogenous stress and environmental insults such as radiation exposure.

Defining the mechanism of the BRCA-dependent DNA repair pathway presents an opportunity to design drugs to kill cancer cells more effectively. In addition, we should be better able to establish a patient’s personal risk of developing cancer.

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter. Wanna learn more? Click the word Wellness at the top of the page. If you found value in this blog, please go to the comment section and check the follow blog box. Thanks!


Dr. Michael Hunter