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Ten years ago, a 40 year old Olympia man walked into Dr. 's clinic at the and asked the physician to protect him from the fate of so many others in his family, almost certain death from pancreatic cancer. and Britain, report in the how that encounter a decade ago led to the discovery of a gene that, when mutated, causes a rare form of heritable pancreatic cancer.
Of perhaps greater importance, though presented very carefully and with little fanfare in today's report, is the additional possibility that the Olympia man and his cancer prone family may help resolve one of the field's biggest mysteries how cancer cells move, or metastasize.
This is the first gene known to cause this highly lethal form of cancer, she said, and its discovery could pave the way for better diagnostic methods and treatments. Pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, is difficult to identify early, and most of those who have it die within a year of diagnosis. Treatment is almost always ineffective.
After the man came to see Brentnall in 1996, she reviewed the family's medical history and was stunned to learn that they had had nine cases of pancreatic cancer over four generations. Pancreatic cancer occurs rarely and, in general, randomly within the population. Family X clearly had some kind of "Anadrol 50" genetic predisposition for pancreatic cancer.
"I thought, I gotta do something for this guy," Brentnall said.
At the time, she said, pancreatic cancer was pretty much in the "netherworld" when it came to research funding and scientific interest. Even just five years ago, she said, there were probably fewer than a dozen scientists devoted to this cancer. Part of the problem was that patients died so quickly after diagnosis, it was almost impossible to study the disease.
That helps explain why pancreatic cancer, even though it is relatively rare compared with other malignancies, still represents such a large proportion of the cancer death toll today.
Brentnall, who had been focusing on colon cancer, decided to Masteron Cutting shift a good bit of her attention and resources to trying to help this Olympia man and to finding the genetic basis of the cancer that disproportionately threatened his family.
Her first goal was to develop a way to diagnose the cancer early in the man and his family members. Brentnall and her colleagues at the UW eventually established a three stage diagnostic system that began with putting an ultrasound probe down the throat to get close to the pancreas and look for abnormal cells.
If they found abnormal cells, the next stage would be "Achat Anabolisant Belgique" to take a special kind of X ray using injected dye to look further for abnormalities in the pancreas. "Anaboliset Aineet" If both tests showed abnormalities, they would do a biopsy and removed tissue for examination under a microscope.
Using this method, Brentnall and her team identified nine members of the family with precancerous cells, indicating "Anaboliset Aineet" the potential of pancreatic cancer. Seven of the family members, Masteron Meditech including the original patient, decided to have their pancreases removed turning them into diabetics who must also take enzymes to digest their food.
"It's not an easy decision to decide Mesterolone Antidepressant to have your pancreas removed," Brentnall said. But the family history made it clear that to avoid it put them at risk of a much bleaker alternative.
Now that she had figured out how to better diagnose precancerous changes in the pancreas, Brentnall and her teams set out to find the gene responsible.
Experts estimate that only about 10 percent of all pancreatic cancer is "familial," or caused by "buy cheap jintropin online" inherited genes. But it's quite possible that the same genetic changes are involved in so called "sporadic" pancreatic cancer, Brentnall said, and understanding the genetics can lead to improvements in diagnosis and treatment that can help all patients.
"Our goal now was the gene hunt," she said. They identified a region on Chromosome 4 with 253 genes and, after years of work, narrowed them down to about 20 candidate genes.
"Meanwhile, our funding was running out," Brentnall said. They kept getting nowhere with the gene hunt until, about two years ago, the UW physician called up Dr. at the .
Otey had discovered a gene known as palladin that was known to be involved in how cells structure themselves the "cytoskeleton." Palladin was one of the 20 genes the UW team was looking at, but it seemed an unlikely candidate. Most scientists looked at genes for cell division and development when looking for cancer genes.
"Clinicians just weren't looking at it," Otey said in a telephone interview. Few cancer scientists thought the cytoskeleton could have anything to do with cancer, she said, but she and a small number of fellow cellular biologists had a suspicion.
Otey told Brentnall about this small group of biologists who thought the cell's architectural machinery ("palladin" is named for 16th century architect ) possibly plays a role in how cancer cells spread.
The UW team, working with collaborators from Cleveland to London, focused its attention on palladin in this Olympia family and discovered it was, in fact, a mutant form of the gene that caused the family's high rate of pancreatic cancer.
"Nobody in the cancer research community ever would have guessed it," Brentnall said.
But what really threw the scientists for a loop was what happened to the cells that had mutant palladin genes.
"They grow arms and legs and, I'm not kidding, literally crawl around the body," Brentnall said.
Contrary to the common view that cancer cells spread passively, either in the blood or by virtue of being pushed out as a tumor grows in size, she said it looks more like these cells are actively mobile.
"It's these cells that walk around that kill you," Brentnall said. "If we can stop the cells from walking, we're stopping a lot of what makes cancer so deadly."
The UW physician, however, quickly emphasized that much more research will be needed to support this hypothesis they found while looking for the pancreatic cancer gene.
"We don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot by talking about this before all the evidence is published," Otey agreed.