This website uses cookies to make the site as useful as possible. By continuing to browse the website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to read more.

Translate this site

Please choose a language:

Hereditary breast cancer: genetic code unravelled

1 March 2012

Ground-breaking UK-led research has unravelled the complete genetic code of the most common type of hereditary breast cancer for the first time.

Scientists from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have fully sequenced the DNA of two breast cancers caused by a faulty BRCA1 gene. Surprisingly, changes in the genetic code of the two tumours looked almost entirely different from one another. This information can now help scientists identify better treatment strategies for patients with a faulty BRCA1 gene.

Hereditary breast cancer accounts for up to 10% of all breast cancers, or around 4,500 cases in the UK each year. The most common cause is a faulty BRCA1 gene. Women with a BRCA1 mutation have around  up to 85 per cent risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. BRCA1 breast cancers are usually aggressive and typically do not benefit from targeted drugs such as tamoxifen and Herceptin (trastuzumab).

Study co-author Dr Rachael Natrajan, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the ICR, said: “It is exciting to find new genes which could be involved in causing and driving breast cancer. Now these have been identified we have to do more work to find out the role that they play. Ultimately, this knowledge could help us develop new treatments that target the specific defects of each patient’s disease.”

The  study also included teams from the Institut Curie in France, the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, The Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in London and the University of Nottingham.

Support Breakthrough Breast Cancer with an ongoing donation from your pay.

Win £250 to spend at Flight Centre by supporting a charity from your pay! The offer is valid for every employee who signs up online to give to charity from their pay until midnight on Saturday 31st March 2012.

Other Recent Headlines

Service dogs in Schools

27 November 2015

Teachers from a local school, a school for children with special educational needs, contacted our Service Dogs Manager in early 2015 to enquire about taking a Battersea dog to work in the school. The staff wanted a ‘therapy animal’ that would encourage children to communicate more effectively and help them become more confident.

Men with advanced prostate cancer could benefit from ‘targeted’ drug

26 November 2015

A small UK clinical trial has found that a drug developed to target inherited gene faults could benefit some men whose prostate cancer has spread, Cancer Research UK reports.

Red Cross responds to horrifying terror attacks in Paris and Beirut

25 November 2015

British Red Cross update on Terrorist attacks: On Friday 13th November, co-ordinated terrorist attacks across six locations in Paris left 129 people dead and hundreds more injured, with over 100 said to be in a serious condition.

Working with us

Logos of some of the companies Charities we work with

About Workplace Giving UK

  • Newsletter Sign-Up

    Sign up for our monthly newsletter

    Submit your email address and we'll keep you up to date with all things Workplace Giving.