RESOURCES: Fingerprinting a Killer

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Science  08 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5523, pp. 1803
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5523.1803b

Much about cancer remains a mystery, but one thing is clear: Many tumors bear specific genetic signatures, changes that apparently make cell division run amok. A wealth of information on these mutations can be found at the Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology, a peer-reviewed site in France aimed at both researchers and clinicians.

For each of 260 or so major genes known to be involved in cancer, visitors will find a “card”–an up-to-date summary —that describes the mutations, the altered protein that gene makes, and the type of tumor in which it's found. Links lead to more information in protein, gene, and MEDLINE databases. Other cards describe types of solid tumors and leukemias, as well as inherited diseases, such as piebaldism, that raise cancer risk.

The site's curators are also compiling several other useful resources: cancer genetics links, review papers, and teaching materials, including a primer on chromosomal abnormalities. In the site's first 4 years, 150 researchers have contributed; all the same, “we need more authors,” e-mails editor Jean-Loup Huret of Poitiers University.

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