Obtaining DNA samples in sufficient numbers and in a timely manner can be a barrier to achieving statistical relevance for research studies. Maximizing recruitment means making sample collection easy and convenient for donors. Recently the Basser Research Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania successfully used event-based collection to rapidly grow the number of participants in their research project.
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If you’re looking for funding for your research project using DNA in saliva, DNA Genotek’s Grant Program might be the solution. Today, DNA Genotek launched a new Grant Program designed to uncover new, innovative applications for our products. The Grant Program encompasses three primary areas of focus:
At DNA Genotek, we recently learned the details of study being conducted by Wake Forest University. We wanted to share some of this information with you here on The Genetic Link. The Center for Cancer Genomics at Wake Forest University Health Sciences uses genomics to gain an understanding of the complex processes involved in the development and progression of various types of cancer, and to develop approaches to utilize this information for the prediction of cancer and personalized intervention. Dr. Xu is a Professor and the Director of the Center for Cancer Genomics at Wake Forest University. Dr. Xu is a well known genetic epidemiologist who specializes in genetic studies focused on prostate cancer. He has published about 200 papers on the genetics of cancer and other complex diseases in leading journals, including NEJM, Nature Genetics, and JNCI.
A host of familial cancer syndromes have been described in which several members of the same family develop cancer at a young age due to an inherited genetic susceptibility. It has been well established that germline mutations in the DNA sequence of genes that are protective against cancer, including tumour suppressor and DNA repair genes, are the culprit in most familial cases of cancer. Because they are inherited, these germline mutations are present in every cell of the body from conception into adulthood, knocking out one of the two copies of the protective gene. They confer a high risk of cancer development at a young age, although the cancer itself arises when the remaining normally-functioning copy of the gene is knocked out in susceptible tissues due to contributing environmental conditions, taking with it the last remnants of protection it once afforded against cancer. However, for a number of individuals with young-onset cancer, as well as entire families, the inherited defect remains unidentified, which complicates genetic counselling and clinical management of family members. Lynch syndrome is the most common of all family cancer syndromes, in which patients develop a range of cancers, the most frequent of which are colorectal and uterine cancers. Lynch syndrome is usually caused by germline mutations within one of the four genes that encode the mismatch repair system, most commonly MLH1 or MSH2. Loss of protection from the mismatch repair system results in the accumulation of mutations during cell division, and ultimately, cancer ensues. However, in about a third of Lynch syndrome patients, standard genetic screening fails to identify any pathogenic sequence change within the mismatch repair genes that might be responsible for their disease.
Recent statistics suggest cancer mortality rates are declining due to better prevention, early detection methods and improved treatments, yet so much remains to be done. With cutting-edge research continually pushing the boundaries of science and discovery, it is not surprising that an increasing number of cancer researchers are turning to the newest tool in the DNA collection toolbox - DNA from saliva.
Every day, it seems, scientists learn something new about how our genes work. One fascinating area of research involves understanding the role of our genes in the initiation, progression and treatment of diseases; such as cancer. Understanding cancer on a molecular and genetic level makes for good science and good medicine. We understand that all cancers are not created equally. From the moment you are conceived, your genes may increase your susceptibility to developing certain cancers or, later on, your environmental exposures or other factors may cause changes in your genes that cause cancer to develop. Cancer is not one disease, but many, adding to the complexity and breadth of studies.