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
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