Researchers on Queensland's Gold Coast believe they have made a breakthrough in the study of a potentially fatal blood cancer.

The director of the Griffith Health Institute, professor Lyn Griffiths, says the number of people with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is increasing by about 4 per cent a year.

Professor Griffiths says her team has been trying to identify factors that make some people more susceptible to the disease than others.

She says they have identified a gene that can suppress the development of the disease.

"We've been able to identify a specific gene that seems to be mutated in a significant number of the most common types of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma," she said.

"People who have a mutation in this gene - it stops the tumour from being suppressed and allows the development through.

"We think it plays a significant role in the development of Non-Hodgkins lympyhoma.

"This is a potential target for us to look at how to overcome the problem of its having a mutation in it, also it could be important in early diagnosis and early prognosis outcomes.

"It may actually help us work out whether the current treatments around in relation to this gene are useful or not."


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