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Some anti-tumour drugs can lead to aggressive cancer later




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Medical Research has interviewed Alexandra Avgustinova, postdoctoral fellow at IRB Barcelona, about a study published as first author in the journal Nature Cell Biology. In the interview she explains that they have demonstrated that the common belief that chromatin opening is one of the determinants of a number of DNA mutations is incorrect. This discovery, says Avgustinova, is important for the fields of oncology and cancer genomics. “We were surprised to see that this observation was interpreted as a causal association, as it was, to a great extent, based on correlative studies without any experimental support. We decided to experimentally test for the first time whether the alteration of chromatin opening affects the mutation rate or the distribution of mutations within the tumours,” explains Avgustinova.

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About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).