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A significant milestone has been reported by scientists for cancer research after charting 21 mutations behind the majority of tumours. The disruptive changes to the genetic code, reported in Nature, accounted for 97% of the 30 most common cancers. Locating the causes behind the mutations could lead to new treatments, as more than half of the causes remain a mystery. Cancer Research UK said it was a fascinating and important study. Professor Sir Mike Stratton, the director of the Sanger Institute, tells the BBC, "I'm very excited. Hidden within the cancer genome are these patterns, these signatures, which tell us what is actually causing cancer in the first place - that's a major insight to have. It is quite a significant achievement for cancer research, this is quite profound. It's taking us into areas of unknown that we didn't know existed before.I think this is a major milestone."

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