The genes that may predict cancer survival
*Watch the full interview in the video player above*
In the eighth of a series of interviews with young and mid-career researchers, Eloise Gibson talks to Francis Hunter about the search for new cancer drugs, and genes that may determine whether someone survives cancer if they get it.
Scientists have a list of genes they know can be involved in determining whether a person gets cancer. But what may surprise people is that there are other genes that researchers believe may help determine whether someone with cancer survives the disease.
These genes – and how they function - may help determine whether someone’s cancer is susceptible to traditional treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, which in turn may help explain the huge disparity in outcomes for people with the same disease.
Francis Hunter has been using the gene editing tool CRISPR to help figure out why treatments such as chemotherapy work so much better for some patients than others, which can have life-or-death consequences for the person involved.
Hunter, who’s based at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre at the University of Auckland, hopes one day doctors will be able to tell patients what their chances are of being successfully treated, potentially saving some people the pain and trauma of undergoing chemo in cases where it is unlikely to work.
He and a team are also investigating new drug treatments, including one for hard-to-cure head and neck cancers.
We value fearless, independent journalism. We hope you do too.
Newsroom has repeatedly broken big, important national news stories and established a platform for quality journalism on issues ranging from climate change, sexual harassment and bullying through to science, foreign affairs, women’s sports and politics.
But we need your support to continue, whether it is great, small, ongoing or a one-off donation. If you believe in high quality journalism being available for all please click to become a Newsroom supporter.
Most popular on newsroom
Atwood, Swarbrick and an expensive waste of time
Chlöe Swarbrick was more interested in herself at the Civic last night than engaging with her guest Margaret Atwood, writes Paula Morris.
Immigration landmine looms
Labour and New Zealand First are considering whether to abandon a 20-year-old practice of limiting total residency approvals at between 37,000 and 47,000 a year. Dileepa Fonseka reports this much-delayed and politically explosive decision is due before the election.