Melbourne: A gene mutation found exclusively in deadly skin cancers caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation has been identified by scientists, a discovery could eventually lead to new drugs to treat the disease. Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and Yale University have conducted the world`s largest study of skin cancer genetics. Professor Nick Hayward from the QIMR`s Oncogenomics Laboratory said that the study analysed every gene in 147 melanomas and discovered the same mutation was present in almost 10 per cent of them. Melanoma accounts for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. The main cause of melanoma is excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. "Because it is a mutation that is an accelerator of tumour growth and development, it lends itself very well to drug targeting to come up with new therapies to treat this disease," Hayward said, adding the discovery reaffirms the link between sun exposure and skin cancer.
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