• Question: How can knowing the mutations that cause a patient's cancer shape treatment?

    Asked by xeede to Ross on 19 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Ross Hill

      Ross Hill answered on 19 Jun 2019:

      Great question!!

      Sometimes patients get mutations in key DNA repair genes, which means they are unable to make a particular DNA factor. This means the cancer cells cannot repair a certain type of DNA damage…..

      As scientists and doctors, we can use this knowledge to give the patient custom treatments. If we give the patient the chemical that causes the type of DNA damage the cancer CANNOT repair, the cancer cells will die whilst the rest of the cells in the patients body (which are capable of repairing the damage) are unaffected!

      I hope this answers your question! ☺