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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 15:19 GMT
Worldwide cancer experts gather
Dividing cell
Experts from Europe, America and the Far East will discuss cell division
Leading experts in cancer research have gathered in Fife for an international seminar on how DNA affects the disease.

The fifth International Cancer Colloquium is being held at St Andrews University with the origins of cancer as the discussion theme.

Organisers are hoping the event will lead to a greater understanding of how cancerous cells develop.

Scientists have already established that defects can develop when DNA replication is happening in the body.

Dividing cells

This period is regarded as a critical first step in cell division. If abnormalities develop during this stage it can lead to DNA damage.

When damage occurs, a cascade of events is triggered, both to repair the DNA and to stop the cell dividing.

Recent research carried out by participants of the seminar has allowed the development of early stage tests for detecting the disease.

Professor of Molecular Medicine, Richard Iggo, said: "This is an exciting time to be studying these problems because of the convergence of different areas of research leading to major new insights that explain previously disparate observations."

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