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October 04, 2002 - Image 68

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-04

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U-M, Technion Study Finds Genetic
Ashkenazi Link To Colorectal Cancer

A genetic mutation, most often found
the scientific teams discovered they
in people descended from Ashkenazi
had complementary results, they
Jews, can double or even triple the risk decided to publish jointly in one
of colorectal cancer, according to new
data from an international _study pub-
Although the mutation can be
lished in the Sept.
20 issue of Science.
The relationship
between mutations
in a gene called
BLM and increased
susceptibility to col-
orectal cancer was
discovered inde-
pendently by two
teams of scientists
who analyzed DNA
from nearly 3,100
people of Ashkenazi
Jewish ancestry liv-
ing in northern
Israel and New York
City. The mutation
is found in about 1
percent of Ashkenazi
(Eastern European)
"When this muta-
tion is inherited
from both parents, it
causes a serious dis-
order called Bloom
syndrome, which
greatly increases an
individual's predis-
position to cancer,"
said Dr. Stephen B.
Gruber, director of
clinical cancer genet-
U-MS- Dr. Stephen Gruber
ics at the University
of Michigan's
Cancer Center.
"Until now, carriers of one mutant
detected with DNA analysis, Dr.
copy were thought to have no
Gruber said it is too soon for DNA
increased cancer risk. But our data
tests to be used as a screening tool or a
show that people who inherit the
guide to treatment. "Before a discov-
mutation from just one parent face a
ery like this can move into patient
two- to three-times greater risk for col- care, others must confirm the find-
orectal cancer."
ings," Gruber said.
-The Israeli data in the Science paper
Colorectal cancer is the leading
are the first to be published from the
cause of deaths from cancer in Israel
Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal
and the second leading cause of cancer
Cancer study -- a collaboration
deaths in the United States. More than
between Dr. Gruber and Dr. Gad
2,000 people are diagnosed with col-
Rennert, of the Technion-Israel
orectal cancer in Israel each year, but
Institute of Technology and Carmel
incidence rates vary widely among dif-
Medical Center in Haifa, Israel.
ferent ethnic groups. Nearly 150,000
New York data were collected inde-
U.S. residents were diagnosed with
pendently by scientists at Memorial
colorectal cancer in 2002.
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. When

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