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Commentary
March 17, 2010

Translating Discovery to Patient Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Director, National Cancer Insitute, Bethesda, Maryland.

JAMA. 2010;303(11):1088-1089. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.281

Comparison of the genome of a patient's tumor to his or her germline DNA reveals hundreds of mutations, along with translocations, changes in gene copy number, deletions, and multiple changes in the epigenomic regulation of transcription and translation. These epigenetic changes, such as methylation, regulatory RNAs, and changes in chromatin structure, are becoming better defined and their importance recognized as highly critical to the cancer process. In the future, these genetic and epigenetic alterations in individuals will be determined and tracked over their lifetimes. Changes that may be precursors to disease will lead to personalized prevention regimens and earlier detection, thereby writing a new chapter in the long struggle to conquer cancer.

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