Big Ideas

Benjamin Ebert, M.D., Ph.D.

December 4, 2014

Dr. Benjamin Ebert, a 2013 V Foundation Translational Grant recipient, and his team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston recently published an intriguing study that looked at pre-cancer signs in blood cancers. Ebert led one of two research teams that worked independently on decoding DNA in about 30,000 people.

Blood cancers account for about 10% of new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States. The cells that cause cancer must mutate several times before the cancer actually develops. Ebert and his team aimed to find that initial mutation in the cell so that they could look at the cell’s pre-malignant condition.

Having the early mutations in the blood does not mean that a person will develop blood cancer, but it does raise the risk. The researchers are hopeful that their advancements will lead to screening tests to help identify those at risk of developing blood cancers.

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