On November 6, 2008 Timothy J. Ley, Elaine R. Mardis, Richard K. Wilson published in the journal Nature, "DNA sequencing of a cytogenetically normal acute myeloid luekaemia genome" [open access]. This was first time that researchers decoded all the genes of a person with cancer and found a set of mutations that might have caused the disease or aided its progression. The New York Times online reported:
"Using cells donated by a woman in her 50s who died of leukemia, the scientists sequenced all the DNA from her cancer cells and compared it to the DNA from her own normal, healthy skin cells. Then they zeroed in on 10 mutations that occurred only in the cancer cells, apparently spurring abnormal growth, preventing the cells from suppressing that growth and enabling them to fight off chemotherapy.
"The findings will not help patients immediately, but researchers say they could lead to new therapies and would almost certainly help doctors make better choices among existing treatments, based on a more detailed genetic picture of each patient’s cancer. Though the research involved leukemia, the same techniques can also be used to study other cancers."