This article was originally published by Wellcome Sanger Institute on 11 April 2018 and can be accessed here.
The researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Hubrecht Institute in The Netherlands discovered that the tumour cells had many more mutations than normal cells, and that not only was each bowel cancer genetically different, but each cell they had studied within that cancer was different:
“The study discovered that the mutational processes in cancer cells are very different from those in healthy cells and that the increase in mutation rate seems to be a general feature of these colon cancers. Their study also suggests that the mutation rate starts to change many years before the cancer is diagnosed. This time window could provide diagnostic clues in the future if it were possible to identify the rise in mutation rate early in a cell.”