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May 14, 2013 | By Jon Healey
It's hard to imagine Supreme Court justices paying much attention to the travails of Hollywood's rich and famous. Still, there's an interesting connection between Angelina Jolie's disclosure Tuesday that she underwent a double mastectomy and a case the court is deliberating, the Assn. for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics . At issue is whether a human gene sequence can be patented. That's the broad question. The two specific sequences patented by Myriad -- BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- are genes that suppress tumors . A small percentage of women have defective copies of those genes, and they are extremely likely to develop a virulent form of breast cancer.
November 16, 2009 | Kendall Powell, Los Angeles Times
Beverly Howey and her identical twin sister, Karen Duncan-Sherman, each found a breast lump in 2007. Howey's was cancer. Duncan-Sherman's was benign. The two women, now 45, couldn't have more similar genetics, and they live in the same place, Wall, N.J. Why did one develop cancer and not the other? Such questions have plagued breast cancer researchers for decades. Inherited genetic mutations, such as those in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, make up only 5% to 10% of breast cancers. And though there's a clear link between a woman's natural estrogen exposure and her breast cancer risk, there's no magic level that equals cancer.
October 1, 2011 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
What's the case for environmental pollutants contributing to breast cancer? Circumstantial evidence keeps patients, doctors, advocates and scientist asking this question, but so far no clear relationship between exposure and disease has been shown in people. Known risks for breast cancer include family history, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, a woman's reproductive history — the age at which she gets her first period, the number of children she has and when she enters menopause — and lifestyle factors such as cigarette and alcohol use, diet and exercise.
October 1, 1996 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two studies published in the October issue of Nature Genetics indicate that about 1 in 100 Jewish women of Eastern European descent, or about four times as many as previously thought, harbors a specific genetic mutation that increases her risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The gene in question, called BRCA2, is almost never mutated in other ethnic groups and is unrelated to a gene called BRCA1, which also increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
April 3, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists have completed the final analysis of two more human chromosomes. Chromosome 19 with nearly 1,500 genes, including some linked to high cholesterol and insulin-resistant diabetes, is the most gene-dense of those sequenced. By contrast, chromosome 13 has one of the lowest concentrations of genes with only 633. But they include the BRCA2 gene linked to breast cancer and others linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
August 13, 1998
Birth control pills appear to halve the chances of ovarian cancer among women with a faulty gene that puts them at high risk for the disease. The pill has long been known to reduce the risk of this kind of cancer among women in general. But until now, it was not clear whether the pill helped those whose risk resulted from bad genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Dr. Steven A.
September 20, 2004 | Reuters
Women with a high genetic risk for breast cancer run a better chance of having it detected with magnetic resonance imaging than with mammography and other methods, researchers have reported. The kind of breast cancer involved is caused by mutations of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, believed responsible for 5% to 10% of all breast cancer cases. Women with the mutations have a significantly higher risk of breast cancer.
November 26, 2003 | From Reuters
Researchers reported Tuesday that they have finally linked inherited forms of breast cancer with seemingly random cases, and said their findings shed more light on the causes of the disease. They found a protein that may disrupt the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that cause an inherited form of breast cancer. It may explain why some patients who do not have mutations of these genes get breast cancer.
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