January 14, 2011

Universal Marker for Tumor Cells?

Jocelyn Kaiser, Science Now


Science Now

Cancer researchers have discovered a new genetic abnormality in tumor cells that sets them apart from normal cells. In mice and humans, cancer cells cranked out large amounts of a specific type of RNA that had been ignored until now. The discovery could shed light on how cancer develops, and it could give pathologists a new marker for detecting cancerous cells in a biopsy.

Postdoctoral researcher David Ting and colleagues in the lab of cancer geneticist Daniel Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found their new marker by using a next-generation sequencing machine to measure the RNA molecules, or transcripts, that are encoded by a cancer cell's DNA. Unlike traditional microarrays dotted with DNA probes that measure the activity of a subset of a cell's...

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TAGGED: Satellite DNA, Cellular Biology, Cancer, RNA