Researchers Link New Mutation to Higher Prostate Cancer Risk in Black Men

Researchers Link New Mutation to Higher Prostate Cancer Risk in Black Men
Researchers from the University of North Texas have identified a new genetic mutation in the ALKBH7 gene that is associated with prostate cancer, particularly in African-American men. The findings suggest that this ALKBH7 mutation could not only be used as a biomarker to diagnose prostate cancer, but that therapies targeting this mutation may help such patients. The study, “ALKBH7 Variant Related to Prostate Cancer Exhibits Altered Substrate Binding,” recently appeared in PLOS Computational Biology. When the control mechanisms that detect and repair DNA damages fail, irreversible genetic mutations that lead to cancer can rise may occur. Understanding which mutations are involved in the onset and progression of each patient's tumor could bring about better personalized anti-cancer therapies. Alice Walker and her colleagues at UNT focused on the occurrence of cancer-related mutations in the ALKBH family of genes in prostate cancer. The nine genes in the ALKBH group code for enzymes responsible for correcting genetic mistakes that occur during DNA replication. Alterations in the levels of some of these family members are associated with different cancer types, including bladder, lung, rectal and prostate cancer. Using the HyDn-SNP-S software program, Walker's team examined the genetic material of a cohort (phs0002
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