Study identifies 114 genetic variants associated with oral cancer in humans

Oral cancer screening tests being conducted at the Uttarahalli Public Health Center in Bengaluru as part of the World Cancer Day programme on Friday.

Oral cancer screening tests being conducted at the Uttarahalli Public Health Center in Bengaluru as part of the World Cancer Day programme on Friday.


In what is claimed to be path-breaking finding, city-based researchers have identified 114 genetic variants which cause oral cancer in humans. The study has also revealed key genetic signatures that can predict survival in oral cancer patients with over 90% accuracy.

On the occasion of World Cancer Day on Friday, C.N. Ashwatha Narayana, Minister for IT/BT and Science and Technology, at a press conference, said the research was conducted jointly by Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), an institute set up by State Department of IT/BT, and doctors from HCG Cancer Centre, using state-of-the-art genomics facility at IBAB.



“Although oral cancer is one of the most common cancers in the country (40% of all cancer cases), this is the first time such an extensive study has been carried out relating to this. The work has already been acknowledged by international bodies like the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The study has been recently published in Frontiers in Oncology,” he said.

He further said the analysis of mutations gave out a list of unique genes associated with 114 novel variants. The research will guide in cell-targeted personalised treatment, the Minister said.

“The researchers have identified novel mutations in the IRAK1 gene, which would pave the way to provide target-directed treatment without affecting the healthy cells in the body. In this regard, we intend to collaborate with pharma companies,” he said.

Cancer awareness

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who launched a week-long cancer awareness and screening campaign organised by the Health Department in the city on Friday, said cancer drugs will be made available at affordable prices in Jan Aushadhi Kendras for the poor.

He said the government will soon start cancer treatment centres in all zones. “Cancer does not mean death. There are medicines and technology available to treat it. Lives can be saved if the disease is detected and treated early,” the Chief Minister said.

Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said the week-long programme will be held in government facilities across the State by the Health and Medical Education departments in association with Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and private hospitals.

Pointing out that all district hospitals have cancer diagnosis centres, he said the facility has also extended to taluk hospitals. “The State intends to make this facility available at Community Health Centres soon. Cancer hospitals have been established at Mysuru and Tumkuru and the government will soon start a dedicated cancer hospital in Hubballi,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:15:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/study-identifies-114-genetic-variants-associated-with-oral-cancer-in-humans/article38379202.ece