Sydney, Apr 9 (UNI) In a major breakthrough that could help in the early detection of breast cancer, scientists have discovered how one of the major genes of the disease behaves.
Dr Juliet French, one of the researchers from the University of Queensland who made the discovery, said their three-year project found the BRCA1 gene can be switched on and off by a mechanism called 'gene looping', a process that could cause a cancer to develop.
She said if certain parts of the gene are defective it could make a person more susceptible to breast cancer.
''This loop structure is responsible for switching the gene on and off,'' she said.
''In breast cancer, the gene is switched off and we don't understand why, so the fact that we've found this mechanism might suggest that in breast cancer patients we might see this looping occurring,'' she added.
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