'Genetic screening can cut deaths from ovarian cancer'

May 2010

It is now possible to predict our genetic predisposition to many conditions. A recent Harvard study examined gene mutations in breast cancer cells that were responsible for a lack of response to anthracycline chemotherapy. This could pave the way for tailor-made treatments for cancer sufferers.


It is less clear, however, whether we should advocate diagnostic genetic testing in healthy people, unless they are at high risk. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has recommended genetic testing for conditions such as breast cancer, where the lifetime risk is one in three or higher, based on family history of breast and ovarian cancers. On average, the lifetime risk is one in nine.


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