Correlation between smoking and lung cancer in...

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Dr. Farrah Kheradmand, professor of medicine and immunology at BCM said, “DNA is written in pen,” said Kheradmand, using a metaphor. “Epigenetics is written in pencil. If you have enough genes affected by epigenetic factors strung together, it can tip you over into lung damage and emphysema. The inflammation that drives emphysema could also drive cancer development, a testable hypothesis that we have begun to pursue.” We are getting clearer maps of how the environmental factors cause epigenetic changes. If enough of our genes are changed, things can happen like lung cancer or emphysema. As we study epigenetics more, we will be able to build better road maps for all diseases and map them back to changes in our lifestyle. This is a clear case where if you have lung cancer you need lots of drugs and operations but it usually ends with the patient dying. Preventing the cause by not smoking prevents the illness, the drugs, the operations and the premature death.

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