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Does Cancer Lie About its Age on its Driver's License?


A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer — with its prognosis of a 5 percent chance of survival for five years — is enough to shake even the most stoic of patients. But there is now evidence that shows that pancreatic cancer mutations begin developing 15 years before most people are diagnosed, says Melinda Wenner Moyer at Scientific American, indicating that there may be "plenty of time for doctors to intervene." In a letter published in Nature, a group of researchers from Johns Hopkins University say that they sequenced the genomes of seven patients who died from late-stage pancreatic cancer and, tracing the evolution of their mutations, found that they could be tracked back 10 years before cancer cells actually started to develop. Other researchers are working on screening techniques for pancreatic cancer, Moyer says, with one group identifying cancer-related RNAs in patients' saliva, and another group developing an optical technology that recognizes various stages of pancreatic cancer cells. Those technologies are still being developed but they are expected to advance in the next decade, she reports.

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more