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Cancer As a Genetic Disease

Summary

Understanding that cancer is caused by mutations in genes that regulate cell proliferation has led to the development of targeted drug therapies.

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(Duration: 58 min 33 sec)

Despite decades of research, cancer continues to be a major cause of death in the United States. The disease is traditionally treated by a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, which can have severe side effects. Recent  advances in cancer biology have led to the development of targeted drugs  as new and effective treatment options for some types of cancer. Dr. Charles Sawyers presents an overview of cancer biology and describes how understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in a type of cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, resulted in the development of Gleevec, one of the first targeted cancer drugs.

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Sixty years after Watson and Crick revealed the structure of the DNA double helix, the ability to routinely sequence and analyze individual genomes is revolutionizing the practice of medicine.

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