Should cancers be named differently? Elizabeth Tracey reports


All cancers carry mutations, and these should direct how they are named, NOT where they are located. That’s the stance of a new study finding that treatments that are targeted to the actual mutations a cancer carries rely on identifying said mutation. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: This is an argument that if you have a cancer that's a lung cancer with a particular mutation in a gene, that when it's defective or mutated as a driver of the lung cancer and you have that same mutation in the gene, the Ras gene, Ras gene that's driving another cancer and you build a drug that's very specific for mutant Ras then it should work in lung cancer and the other cancer. This often happens would you rather call it a Ras cancer or does it make a difference that it's lung cancer or something else.   :30 

Nelson says he’s not in favor of such a strategy and notes that for many cancers mutations are identified. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.