MIT News feature: detecting mutations could lead to earlier liver cancer diagnosis

March 27, 2017

MIT researchers have now developed a way to determine, by sequencing DNA of liver cells, whether those cells have been exposed to aflatoxin. This profile of mutations could be used to predict whether someone has a high risk of developing liver cancer, potentially many years before tumors actually appear.

“What we’re doing is creating a fingerprint,” says John Essigmann, the William R. and Betsy P. Leitch Professor of Biological Engineering and Chemistry at MIT. “It’s really a measure of prior exposure to something that causes cancer.”