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Conference examines role of chromosome changes in cancer

The University of Chicago will present a conference on "Chromosomes and Cancer: From Translocations to Targeted Therapies," on Mon., Nov. 7, 2005, at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St., Chicago, IL.

The conference, sponsored by the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center and the Section of Hematology/Oncology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, will update participants on progress in understanding cancer and examine the latest advances in targeted therapies for leukemia and other cancers -- treatments rooted in Rowley's fundamental discoveries.

It will feature many of the world's leading experts on the genetics of leukemia and lymphoma and the development of targeted therapies based on genetic understanding of cancer, including Brian Drucker, M.D., who developed Gleevec based on a 1972 discovery by Rowley, and Clara Bloomfield, M.D., who was among the first to suggest, and later show, that adult acute leukemia was curable with chemotherapy.

In the early 1970s, Rowley, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Human Genetics, and the Committees on Genetics and Cancer Biology, at the University of Chicago -- who turned 80 in April -- produced the first solid evidence that cancer was essentially a genetic disorder.

In 1972, she discovered the first chromosome "translocation," an exchange of small pieces of DNA between chromosomes 8 and 21 in patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia. Later that same year, she found that something similar happened in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia; a crucial segment of chromosome 22 broke off and moved to chromosome 9, where it did not belong. At the same time, a tiny piece of chromosome 9, which included an important cancer-causing gene, had moved to the breakpoint on chromosome 22. Because of this exchange, genes that regulated cell growth and division were no longer located in their normal positions on th
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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
28-Oct-2005


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