TODAY | September 24, 2012
>>> now what could be a major breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer . scientists have mapped all the genetic mutations in an effort to lead to more effective treatments. dr. nancy snyderman is nbc's chief medical editor. good morning to you.
>> good morning.
>> the catalog identified the mutations in common cancers. what is the bottom line and why does this matter?
>> four basic kinds of cancers and they dug deeper and found genetic switches that make cancers worse than others, linked one to ovarian cancer and that could change treatment. underscoring all of this, it took thousands of scientists with 800 women volunteering to give up their tissue, and they shared information. it shows you just can't throw money at things, can't hide in your own little laboratory. unless we share information we won't get breakthroughs. so increasingly your breast tumor, my breast tumor may look the same on an x-ray but genetically they may be very, very different. the sooner we can understand, the sooner we can tailor treatment for me, treatment for you.
>> one of the breast cancer tumors shared more similarities with ovarian cancer , us a mentioned.
>> does this mean it may be the place where you find the tumor isn't as important as where its origins are, the genetic origins.
>> maybe beyond that. okay. what's the common switch that turns on a tumor, and are there drugs that we're used to go treat lung or ovarian cancer that might be useful for breast cancer ? some of the treatments that we know that really knock women off their feet, maybe they are going to be increasingly obsolete. one of the authors said this is like getting someone to the moon. i think it's a better rocket. we haven't gone to the moon yet. you get to say that when we cure breast cancer , but it's a huge step forward.
>> doing the study perhaps is the moon shot . dr. nancy snyderman , thank you so much.