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UArizona scientists working to crack the cancer code

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 09:23:58-04

TUCSON, AZ — On campus at the University of Arizona in Tucson, researchers are trying to crack the cancer code.

"These are genes we've been studying. They can be mutated to form neurogenerative diseases or a childhood cancer. I think it highlights how important these molecules are," explains Dr. Jacob Schwartz with UArizona.

This is especially true when it comes to childhood cancer, and one in particular could unlock the secrets about cancers across the board - Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

"This is a particularly aggressive tumor. It starts in the bones and jumps to metastasis very quickly."

With the help of a grant from the American Cancer Society, Dr. Schwartz is taking a closer look at Ewing Sarcoma and how it behaves. Dr. Schwartz also says it's helping them understand other cancers along the way.

"We gain a much deeper understanding of why this cancer is caused and why it progresses and I think we are coming up with whole new ways and paradigms and thinking about cancer therapy that will have immediate implications on other cancers that haven't even risen to the forefront because these other cancers are so complicated."

And this could mean not only better treatments but also better outcomes.

"Through this grant, we have made significant breakthroughs in understanding how cancer progresses and how the causes of this cancer do what they do to give rise to a tumor. And that has significant meaning for new ideas for treatments. And targeting cancer in ways we wouldn't have thought of doing."