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DiGiovanni by Vicki Matustik
Cancer Research at UT: A solid foundation for a medical school

New Susceptibility Gene for Skin Cancer

What if a genetic test could tell you whether you’re susceptible to certain forms of skin cancer?

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and other universities have identified a gene that predisposes people to nonmelanoma skin cancer —a discovery that could lead to new cancer-prevention strategies.

Nonmelanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer and, though usually not fatal, can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.

Dr. John DiGiovanni, a leading cancer researcher at the university, explains that studies show this skin cancer gene plays a role in the tumor promotion stage of skin carcinogenesis —the process in which cells become malignant.

This discovery might also shed light on how the gene plays a role in other cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, and ultimately provide the medical world with new ways to prevent the disease.

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