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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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Pharmacogenetics and Breast Cancer

Many physicians would argue that we ought to be more interested in finding the genes that mediate how a person responds to cancer therapy than in finding the genes that cause cancer in the first place. Traditional cancer treatments were like taking a sledgehammer to dividing cells. Radiation breaks the DNA into fragments that the cells have a hard time putting back together as they are dividing, while the older chemotherapeutics generally inhibit the replication of DNA. These treatments cause hair loss, nausea, and other side effects because certain types of cells in the body are always dividing as a normal part of life, and these are affected by the nonspecific cancer treatments.

The new drugs by contrast ...

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