Cancer clue? — — — — — — — .During a recent conversation with new parents of a beautiful, healthy baby, I learned something that I had never heard before.
One of the tests given the baby was that for Down Syndrome and thankfully their baby girl was fine, but the parents mentioned that Down Syndrome children don’t get cancer.
I had never heard this and thought I would do more research, because it stands to reason, that if this is so, why hadn’t the medical community isolated the factor that protects a down syndrome child from this awful disease?
My research to medical websites unveiled the fact that it is believed to be in the DNA. Down Syndrome individuals have 3 copies of what is called chromosome 21, one more copy than those without the Syndrome, and while cancer may be much rarer in those with Down Syndrome, I could find no information that claimed it to be absent entirely.
Without getting too medically technical, there is a gene, Ets2 that apparently rests on chromosome 21 ‘” those with Downs have the extra copy of the gene, which is believed to repress cancer.
What is astonishing to some degree, is that the medical establishment has long felt that this gene had a role in causing cancer, but in those with Down Syndrome, who have an extra copy of it, it is believed to tip the scale and prevent cancer. In addition to fewer cases of cancer, they are also less likely to develop diabetes related disorders, according to one Harvard study.
It is also important to note that the additional copy of chromosome 21 gives Down individuals an extra version of over 200 genes, and the study suggests it would be surprising if there were not several chromosome genes implicated in the suppression of cancer among Down Syndrome individuals.
Dr. Roger Reeves, a professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine maintains that the genetic roots of Down may lead to new cancer drugs, but cautioned, “such drugs are a long way off, however “people with Down Syndrome have now given us all the possibility of lowering the incidence of cancer in everybody.”
The doctor and his colleagues are hoping to create a drug that could boost the Ets2 gene in humans without Down to curb cancer. It appears that the extra copy of chromosome 21 in those with Down provides some sort of explanation of their protection from solid tumors.
This fascinating information has reenergized my already existing fervent desire to see the eradication of this disease as soon as possible!
Maybe we can all hope that an intense perhaps redirection in research is made to further study and hone in on this particular gene pool. I will now personally note on all my contributions to cancer, that research, and in particular, this area is where I would like my donation to go.