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Washington University researchers analyze genomes of two major cancers


In separate studies both published on Wednesday, researchers at Washington University helped lead the genomic analysis of two types of cancer. As St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra reports, the research could lead to improvements in diagnosis and treatment.

Washington University physician scientist Tim Ley co-led a study on acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

He says researchers sequenced the DNA of cancer cells and compared it to that of healthy tissue.

"It's created a treasure-trove of new information about the disease, about the mutations that cause it, about how they interact, and what their consequences are for patients," said Ley.

Ley says it could take more than a decade to analyze all the data.

A second genomic study co-led by Wash U focused on endometrial cancer, which attacks the lining of the uterus.

You can find more information about both studies at stlpublicradio.org.

Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug while writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio pieces at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.