Researchers have identified genes that could help doctors assess the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women. The BRCA database includes 93 different genes with mutations that can lead to breast cancers in women. The discovery of these genes, including the database initiative, are all part of the International Biennial Meeting of Human Variome Project Consortium, a convention for research that explores all aspects of human genetics.
Women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at a 55 to 65% increased risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers. In the US alone, 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and it is estimated that around 240,00 women are expected to be diagnosed with a form of invasive breast cancer in 2016. The BRCA Share database could provide doctors with an effective method of assessing the risk of cancer in women who possess the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene variants.
Diagnostics with the BRCA Share Database
The BRCA Share Database is an effort by scientific researchers worldwide to improve cancer diagnosing in women. In particular, women who possess variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are more likely to develop ovarian and breast cancers when compared to individuals without the genes.
There are total of 6,200 variants of the BRCA genes, and prior to this research, only 7% out of 375 were identified as causing a significant risk for developing cancer. The remaining genes are unclassified, but collaboration among researchers is helping the database to grow. The collective effort of the BRCA Share Database is now accessible to around 1,000 scientists in 49 different countries.
Image Source: www.cancer.gov
Prior to the development of BRCA Share Database, diagnostic labs were able to pinpoint a genetic variation. However, determining if the mutated gene would develop into a form of cancer was difficult. Diagnostic labs across the world will now be able to access the database, giving doctor’s detailed reports indicating the gene variants in patients.
For the thousands of women who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene variants, the BRCA Share Database will help doctors determine the best measures to take to prevent the development of breast and ovarian cancer. Such procedures involve participating in frequent breast screenings to detect cancerous cells before they spread. In some cases, women who have these genes and are at significant risk undergo mastectomies or have their ovaries removed completely. While these measures may seem extreme, it is projected that in 2016 alone, 14,000 women will die from ovarian cancer and 40,000 will die from invasive forms breast cancer.