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Australian scientists unravel genes of pancreatic cancer

(Xinhua)

13:12, October 26, 2012

CANBERRA, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists have unraveled genes of pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death, potentially paving the way for new treatments for this cancer, according to a statement from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney on Thursday.

The study was published in Nature this week. Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all the major cancers and is one of the few for which survival has not improved substantially over the past 40 years.

Professor Sean Grimmond, from the University of Queensland, and Professor Andrew Biankin, from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, led an international team of more than 100 researchers that sequenced the genomes of 100 pancreatic tumours and compared them to normal tissue to determine the genetic changes that lead to this cancer.

"We found over 2,000 mutated genes in total ... which was mutated in about 90 percent of samples, and hundreds of gene mutations that were only present in 1 or 2 percent of tumours," Professor Grimmond said.

"This demonstrates that so-called 'pancreatic cancer' is not one disease, but many, and suggests that people who seemingly have the same cancer might need to be treated quite differently."

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