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Posted 27 Feb 2001   For week ended February 02, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Feb01

By Paul Carter

Pioneer Genealogy Helps ID Cancer Gene

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- A successful gene research effort at the University of Utah has been aided by access to the genealogical records of Mormon pioneers. The research and its findings are reported in the February issue of "Nature Genetics".

On January 30, 2001, cancer researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine announced that they have identified two genes that cause a vulnerability in men for prostate cancer. In the announcement, one of the co-authors of the research study, Lisa Cannon-Albright, described how genealogical records played an important role in the research.

"We have an extremely unique resource here in Utah. We have a tumor registry that requires a record be made of every cancer in the state since 1973. Along with that, we've computerized the genealogy of the Mormon pioneers and their descendants and that combined data base allows us to find families that have an excess of prostate cancers."

With those families identified, the research team at the University of Utah obtained DNA by taking blood samples of male family members who would have the tendency toward prostate cancer. Cannon-Albright, who is a professor in the department of medical informatics at the U of U medical school, explains the research: "What we look for in their genome is co-inheritance of genetic markers with families who have prostate cancer, and when you find evidence for that, it suggests that the prostate cancer lies somewhere near the genetic marker."

University of Utah researchers searched for a match in the human genome area around the inherited common markers. They were able to locate "the smallest piece of chromosome that appears in all the people who had prostate cancer to see what is shared."

Two genes were found with mutations. The genes have been named ELAC2 and HPC2. Men whose genome contains mutations of these two genes are vulnerable to prostate cancer. But, there are other, still to be identified, genes which also affect the susceptibility to the disease. Identifying all of these could lead eventually to a test to accurately predict an indivuals risk of prostate cancer.

Regarding the Utah results, Professor Cannon-Albright says, "It's really only one small step forward. But every one of these steps we make will ultimately help us take a man's DNA and allow us to predict risk for these kinds of cancers.

"There are five or six hypothesized regions for additional genes that could clearly play a role in prostate cancer. Each one of these genes could contribute to a small fraction of cancer cases. You're going to need a good hunk of them to really develop a test to calculate a man's risk."


Gene Found for Prostate Cancer
Yahoo!News (HealthScout) 30Jan01 N6
By Neil Sherman: HealthScout Reporter

(Editor's note: The complete mapping of the human genome was announced last fall, to enthusiastic fanfare in the scientific community. Publishing of the genetic maps, via the internet, began Monday of this week. This article describes a recently completed medical research effort in Utah which combined genome research with LDS genealogical research.)

For an article on the human genome published Monday on the internet, see:

Gene Map Gives Clearer Idea of What Makes Us Tick
Denver CO Rocky Mountain News 12Feb01 N6
By Lee Bowman


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