ped, rather we can begin more effectively tailoring the drugs we are using today," says Esteller.
"We want to caution that testing for MGMT gene methylation in brain tumors is not yet widely available," according to Herman. Virco Lab Inc. (Great Britain) has licensed the technology from Hopkins and could have a commercial test available as early as 2001.
Methylation has long been known to help regulate the expression of proteins made by genes by adding chemical molecules to genetic on/off switches, technically called promoter regions. When the gene is unmethylated, the gene turns on. When it is methylated, the gene turns off. Its role in cancer also has been well-defined, with similar methylation patterns playing a role in colon cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, and head and neck cancers.
More than 16,000 people are diagnosed with brain cancer annually in the United States. An additional 13,000 die each year from the disease. Though rare, brain cancers are among the deadliest and most debilitating types of malignancies. Patients frequently die within months of diagnosis.
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Contact: Vanessa Wasta
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
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