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The discovery of a human enzyme that causes DNA mutations found in the majority of breast cancers may change how breast cancer is diagnosed and treated.
Feb. 6, 2013 Researchers at the University of Minnesota have uncovered a human enzyme responsible for causing DNA mutations found in the majority of breast cancers. The discovery of this enzyme — called APOBEC3B — may change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated.
The findings from a team of researchers led by Reuben Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and also a researcher at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, are published in the latest edition of Nature.
“We strongly believe this discovery will change the way mutations in cancer are viewed and, hopefully, it will allow cancer researchers to develop new treatments approaches that can prevent these mutations before the…
Additional research is needed. The researcher points out that the enzyme may be a biological “double-edged sword.” The enzyme protects some cells from viruses such as HIV-1 yet produces mutations giving rise to cancer in others. If additional research confirms that high APOBEC3B levels indicate the early presence of breast cancer, a simple blood test could be a strategy for early detection.