Monday, April 28, 2008

Smokers’ genetic ‘double whammy’,0,7169921.story

As if the social and psychological factors of quitting smoking didn’t offer smokers a large enough challenge, studies indicate that some people have a genetic variation that makes them smoke more, makes quitting harder and makes them more susceptible to lung cancer. An article printed in the Baltimore Sun on April 3rd reports studies can also provide answers to the question of why some long term smokers get lung cancer and others do not. The study found a genetic variation on chromosome 15 to be linked with lung cancer. Also the carriers of the genetic variation were more likely to smoke more and to have difficulty in quitting. Three recent studies on 35 000 people have indicated such similar findings with this genetic variation. One group of researchers found that being a carrier of this genetic variation does not make a person take up smoking however once they do, they are more likely to smoke more cigarettes than a smoker without this genetic variation, making it tougher for them to quit. A smoker with this genetic variation from both parents is reported to be 80% more likely to get lung cancer than a smoker who doesn’t have this genetic variation. It is also reported that 50% of Caucasians of European descent have this genetic variation. So how does this genetic discovery help advance biomedical science? Researchers and scientists can now look at ways in which they can combat this gene variation and use these genetic differences to create more effective and suitable quitting programs for smokers.

Posted by Allegra Boccabella

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