ibnlive » Health

Dec 18, 2009 at 12:08am IST

Scientists crack cancer code, to alter cure

New Delhi: Scientists say they have cracked the cancer code and have mapped the entire genetic code of two of the most common cancers - skin and lung cancer.

Mapping of cancer code is a huge breakthrough and may soon herald blood tests that could detect tumours far earlier than currently possible.

Scientists are now looking at which genes go wrong in different types of cancer.

The DNA code for the skin cancer called melanoma reportedly has more than 30,000 errors, mostly caused by too much exposure to the sun. The lung cancer DNA had more than 23,000 errors, most triggered by exposure to cigarette smoke.

Work is now beginning to map at least 50 more cancer genomes.

India is one of 10 countries involved, studying cancer of the mouth, while the UK is looking at breast cancer, China stomach cancer and the US is looking at brain, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

The entire project will take at least five years, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but could prove revolutionary, when it comes to detection and treatment.