Geneticist Who Identified Breast, Ovarian Cancer Genes At The Center of Genetic Testing Debate

Geneticist Who Identified Breast, Ovarian Cancer Genes At The Center of Genetic Testing Debate
laskerMary-Claire King, the scientist who identified breast cancer genes and who also co-developed a way to screen for all genes that predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer, was awarded the 2014 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for her leadership and citizenship in biomedical science. King, who is a professor of medicine in the University of Washington, Division of Medical Genetics and of Genome Sciences, has been taking her scientific work out of the lab and is advocating for genetic tests for all women for the detection of mutations in BRAC 1 and BRAC 2 genes that could lead to breast or ovarian cancer. This public position in favor of genetic tests for all women raised doubts and questions among some of her peers, and led to a recent debate on whether these tests would be more beneficial than harmful. In an article by Rob Stein to the NPR, ("Researcher Urges Wider Genetic Screening For Breast Cancer") the author notes that some scientists still question the need and benefit for all women to take these exams. One of the questions raised is related to the lack of absolute certainty in these results. According to the critics of this “all women should be tested” position, the existence of the mutation in a woman doesn’t guarantee she will suffe
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