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Cancer's Genetic Code Cracked

Scientists Map Breast, Colon Cancers' 'Genetic Landscape'

Complex Cancer Game Plan continued...

Burstein notes that the study wasn't able to say which mutations happen in which order. He says it's possible many of the mutations occur only after the tumor is growing wildly, and it may yet be possible to pinpoint a smaller number of truly significant mutations.

"The transformation from normal cells to cancer cells is still a complicated problem," Burstein says. "What we hope we have here is a roadmap to help us go after them."

Where that roadmap eventually will lead is to a new generation of targeted cancer therapies, says Parsons.

"New cancer treatments like Gleevec for leukemialeukemia, and Herceptin for breast cancer, are based on knowing the genetic basis of these cancers," Parson's says. "We will be able to come up with more of these treatments based on the huge amount of information that will become available from studies like this."

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