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Connection Between Down Syndrome and Cancer

Posted Jun 02 2009 3:33pm
There is an interesting article in the Boston Globe about a connection between Down syndrome and cancer - A Medical Puzzle Yields Cancer Clue - Downs Gene Starves Growth of Tumors
Some excerpts:

Epidemiologic studies of thousands of people with Down syndrome ... have shown they are less than 10 percent as likely to die from solid tumors as their comparably aged peers, and that has remained true even as scientific advances allow people with the syndrome to live deeper into adulthood.

Scientists discovered that the extra chromosome carried by people with Down syndrome ... harbors a gene responsible for starving tumors of the blood they need to survive and flourish.

The ... discovery could provide a beacon to scientists developing treatments and preventive medications designed to be broadly effective against cancer, wherever it resides in the body.

"Most people don't appreciate the fact that these individuals with Downs potentially hold a secret that might lead to quite substantial and revolutionary new treatments for cancer," said Dr. David Sweetser

Could this gene, found on the same chromosome that defines Down syndrome, be especially bountiful in people with Down and, thus, responsible for depriving tumors of what they need to grow?

Imagine that - because individuals with Down syndrome exist there could be new treatments and medications that are broadly effective against cancer.

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