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Susan Pinney, PhD, faculty member within the UC Department of Environmental Health

Susan Pinney, PhD, faculty member within the UC Department of Environmental Health
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Publish Date: 01/30/15
Media Contact: Katie Pence, 513-558-4561
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Gene Linked to Parkinson's Now Also Linked to Lung Cancer, Research Shows

A study involving researchers in UCís Department of Environmental Health has identified a gene that could be tied to increased risk of lung cancer. This gene has been shown in previous studies to have a tie to early onset Parkinsonís disease.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, were discovered through whole exome sequencing which identified a link between a mutation in the gene PARK2 and familial lung cancer.

The study was led by the Medical College of Wisconsin and involved collaboration with colleagues of the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC), of which UC is a member.

Researchers discovered this susceptibility gene by sequencing the exomes (protein coding region of the genome) of individuals from a family with eight cases of lung cancer. They then studied the PARK2 gene in additional families affected by lung cancer. None of these families had a history of Parkinsonís disease. 
Results showed a significant association between the PARK2 mutation and families with multiple cases of this type of cancer.

"Most people think that lung cancer is caused only by cigarette smoking,Ē says Susan Pinney, PhD, professor in the UC Department of Environmental Health, member of the Cincinnati Cancer Center and UC Cancer Institute and researcher involved in this study. "There are other causes, such as radon and occupational exposures, and genetic susceptibility. This mutation acts regardless of smoking status.  Hopefully, the discovery of this mutation will lead to targeted therapies against lung cancer in individuals with the PARK2 mutation.Ē

The GELCC is headed by Marshall Anderson, PhD, professor of medicine at MCW, and formerly chair of the Department of Environmental Health at UC. Other GELCC collaborating institutions in addition to the UC College of Medicine are the National Human Genome Research Institute, the University of Toledo College of Medicine, the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, the Mayo Clinic and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. 

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