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A gene has been discovered that helps in understanding ovarian cancer

The discovery may pave the way for the development of new drugs for the most common cancer among women, which kills 114 thousand women every year

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British researchers discovered a gene that stops the development of ovarian cancer,
and that its discovery may pave the way for the development of new drugs against the deadly disease. Researchers from the British Cancer Research Institute found that in nearly 90% of the tumors examined, the gene called OPCML did not function.

"This is an important step in understanding the basic processes of ovarian cancer, and the discovery provides another piece of information on the way to understanding the cause of the development of the disease," said Dr. Hani Gebra, an oncologist at the institute's branch in Edinburgh. Gebra and his colleagues found that in the early stages of the disease the gene is inactive and does not produce proteins. "But when we made the gene work in the cancer cells, it was able to suppress their culture" said Gebra.

Ovarian cancer is the most common cancer in women, and it is known as the "silent killer", since many women are diagnosed with it only when it reaches an advanced stage. According to the data of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, about 190 thousand women get ovarian cancer every year, and about 114 thousand die from it. Its symptoms, which include pain, nausea, weight loss and abdominal swelling, are not only characteristic of ovarian cancer, and can easily be confused with other diseases. Therefore, the cancer is often discovered only after it has spread to other areas of the body. At this stage, only 20% of patients manage to recover from it.

Gebra believes that the findings, published in the magazine "Nature Genetics", may lead to an earlier diagnosis of the disease and new ways of treatment. Today the sick women are treated with chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor. Gebra said that the way specific genes work must be continued to be studied, and to understand exactly how they work and what causes them to stop functioning.

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