Screening method could help prevent multiple types of cancer

A new genetic screening method called BROCA located mutations in 12 genes for inherited cancers of the ovary, fallopian tubes and peritoneum. The study, led by Dr. Elizabeth Swisher at the University of Washington in Seattle, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Current methods of screening for genes associated with ovarian cancer cost about $4,000 for a non-comprehensive test, according to a release published on the findings. The BROCA test, named after 19th century scientist Paul Broca, costs just $200 and can find all classes of genetic mutations.

Swisher and her team applied the test to ovarian cancer, which is difficult to diagnose in early stages due to vague symptoms that could be confused with other conditions. The 12 genes tied to ovarian cancer risk identified by BROCA could lead to tests that identify women at risk of developing the cancer, which in turn could allow physicians and patients to take preventative action against the disease.

The test could eventually be used for screen for susceptibility to breast, ovarian, colon, pancreatic and melanoma gene mutations. Additionally, the researchers say the BROCA test is capable of screening large populations to identify cancer-causing mutations.

- here's the release

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