[MOL] Genome Sequencing and cancer [01340] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Genome Sequencing and cancer

So obscure he won the Nobel Prize
(I cut excerpts from the full article above)

Michael Smith founded a genomics centre in Vancouver, reversed the brain 
drain and kept Canada in the gene hunt
March 14, 2000 

National Post (Margaret Munro) Michael Smith believes there are limits to the 
power of genetic alchemy. Do not, he says, hold your breath for scientists to 
take bits of ancient DNA and recreate dinosaurs or mastodons as some 
researchers have suggested. 

"Now that's acute science fiction," says the 67-year-old Nobel Prize winner.  
Nick Didlick (National Post) 
Michael Smith won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1993. 

Still, with the human genome largely in hand, "there's going to be no end of 
things to do," he says. 
Dinosaurs aside, Smith expects genomics to have a profound impact. It should 
enable scientists to understand the chain of genetic aberrations that set 
cancer on its deadly course. It should allow them to devise probes to 
identify infectious microbes in a matter of minutes instead of days. Genomics 
may even explain why some individuals are immune to flu, helping to create 
new drugs. Longer term, Smith envisions treatment for diseases like 
Huntington's and cystic fibrosis caused by to gene mutations. 
Smith's technique -- which was considered so obscure it was rejected by the 
editors of the leading journal Cell -- became a fundamental tool in genetic 
engineering labs, enabling scientists to alter the sequence of genes 
deliberately and turn on and off the production of proteins. In effect, 
Smith's discovery enabled scientists to rewrite the language of life. 
To his regret, Smith is too busy to spend time at the lab bench. (He is also 
too valuable a draw for research dollars to spend his time puttering with 
molecules.) But he has managed to pull off the next best thing. He has 
attracted a team of bright young scientists to Canada to work at the new 
genome centre, which will concentrate on pinpointing the genes involved in 
cancer. "We're reversing the brain drain," says Smith. 

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