Page 15 - Inspire Magazine 2019
P. 15

Under the microscope, all these lesions look
     the same, making it difficult to establish which
     ones to treat and which ones to leave alone.

     However, this innovative study has discovered
     the differences between lesions, allowing them
     to accurately predict which ones will become

     The research team, led by Professor Sam Janes
     at University College London (UCL), believes
     this information could be used to help
     clinicians to decide whether to offer a patient
     surgery at a much earlier stage of the disease
     than is currently possible, while saving others            The team studied biopsies of preinvasive lung
     whose lesions are benign from enduring                     cancer lesions from patients from University
     unnecessary surgery.                                       College London Hospital (UCLH).

     These findings could also help to develop a                They conducted tests including gene
     simple blood test to pick up the same                      expression profiling, methylation profiling and
     molecular signals linked to early cancer                   whole-genome DNA sequencing.
     development as well as leading to new
     treatments.                                                Patients were followed up for over five years
                                                                after their biopsy to see which of them
     Professor Janes explains more:                             developed lung squamous cell carcinoma, one
                                                                of the two most common subtypes of lung
     “Our study helps understand the earliest stage             cancer.
     of lung cancer development by figuring out
     what’s going on inside these cells even before             By checking the molecular profile of the lesions,
     they become cancerous.                                     the researchers found sufficient differences to
                                                                predict with near-perfect accuracy which of
     “Using this information, we may be able to                 them would develop into cancer.
     develop screening tests, such as blood tests,
     and new treatments that could stop lung
     cancer in its tracks.”

     Co-author of the study, Dr Adam Pennycuick,

     “If we use this understanding of cancer
     development to create new diagnostic tests,
     it may one day be invaluable in picking up lung
     cancer early and enable people to access
     treatment far sooner.”

     The team is now continuing its research to
     further understand how these genes are
     driving lung cancer progression and see which                                                                    INSPIRE 2019
     could be targeted by new drug treatments.

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