... IT's the matastases, stupid!
The cancer atlas will catalog mutations in primary tumors—those solid masses in lung, breast, prostate and other tissues. But what kills an estimated 90 percent of cancer patients is not the primary tumor (you can live without a prostate). It is metastases. These are malignant cells that spread to a vital organ like the brain. "What matters for survival is not the primary tumor but the rare cells—1 in 50,000—in it that give rise to metastases," says Miklos. Identifying all the mutations in a tumor is overkill, especially since the atlas will not zero in on mutations that underlie metastasis.
$1.5 Billion Doesn’t Guarantee Good Science - Newsweek Technology - MSNBC.com
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