Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center described a new damage pattern in the genetic material of cancer cells years ago. They analyzed it by examining an aggressive type of childhood brain tumor. In which they discovered an uncommon chaos in the cell nucleus. Various areas of individual chromosomes were broken at numerous points and were reassembled incorrectly. Due to this, whole parts were missing while other either were incorporated in a wrong orientation or were duplicated. This chromosome disaster differed from all earlier known genetic defects in tumors.
Scientists have coined a term chromothripsis to define such a genetic disaster. This type of case is mostly seen in 20-30% of all cancers. The main cause for this cancer is largely unknown. A research team from the German Cancer Research Center led by Aurelie Ernst has revealed that the failure of certain genetic repair systems is one of the causes of chromosomal chaos.
Recently, scientists found the cause behind this disastrous change in the genetic material of cancer cells that are known from the past few years only. The failure of an important cellular DNA repair system initiates defective assembly and fragmentation of genetic material. However, cancer cells with this kind of defects can now be treated through a specific group of drugs.
The team of researchers tested this on genetically modified mice and as the results were found, the team confirmed that failure of an important cellular DNA repair would be seen in form brain tumor, breast cancer, and melanomas. They also found that found the involvement of the cancer-promoting Myc in human tumors.