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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Genetic Link May Help Explain Stomach Cancer

March 23, 2000|From Times staff and wire reports

Researchers said Wednesday they have found a genetic link that could explain why some people get stomach cancer when they are infected with a common bacterium. They said their findings could show that stomach cancers are the result of an overreaction of the immune system against infection by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, which infests billions of people.

"Half the world has got it," said Dr. Emad El-Omar of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, shed light on how the bacteria cause stomach ulcers and cancer. They also may explain why some infected people get cancer and others do not.

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