Researchers have been working on sequencing a single human liver tumor. The tumor was only slighter larger than one inch in diameter, yet it contained 100 million distinct mutations within the coding region of its genetic sequence. This is thousands of times more than originally believed. Each of these mutations is capable of altering proteins in the tumor, affecting the ability to treat tumors.
These results show even the smallest of tumors have extremely high genetic diversity in their genetic sequences. This diversity explains why chemotherapy does not always work in treating tumors. Cells with mutations that are resistant to standard treatment methods, go on to reproduce more cells with these mutations, causing treatment to be futile in some circumstances.
This is a great discovery, however it is rather unfortunate. We often believe we are making great medical advances, however this study shows we might have much more work ahead of us to effectively treat tumors. It is known that patient’s survival rates decrease substantially as genetic diversity in a tumor increases. It seems the medical field will need to make huge advances to find a way to properly eliminate these genetically varying cells to find a successful cure in the treatment of tumors.
For the original article click here.