Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Wildly heterogeneous genes: New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects; a step toward personalized medicine

Date:
September 15, 2013
Source:
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
Summary:
Cancer tumors almost never share the exact same genetic mutations, a fact that has confounded scientific efforts to better categorize cancer types and develop more targeted, effective treatments. Researchers propose a new approach called network-based stratification, which identifies cancer subtypes not by the singular mutations of individual patients, but by how those mutations affect shared genetic networks or systems.

This is Trey Ideker, Ph.D.
Credit: UC San Diego School of Medicine

Cancer tumors almost never share the exact same genetic mutations, a fact that has confounded scientific efforts to better categorize cancer types and develop more targeted, effective treatments.

Related Articles


In a paper published in the September 15 advanced online edition of Nature Methods, researchers at the University of California, San Diego propose a new approach called network-based stratification (NBS), which identifies cancer subtypes not by the singular mutations of individual patients, but by how those mutations affect shared genetic networks or systems.

"Subtyping is the most basic step toward the goal of personalized medicine," said principal investigator Trey Ideker, PhD, division chief of genetics in the UC San Diego School of Medicine and a professor in the departments of Medicine and Bioengineering at UC San Diego. "Based on patient data, patients are placed into subtypes with associated treatments. For example, one subtype of cancer is known to respond well to drug A, but not drug B. Without subtyping, every patient looks the same by definition, and you have no idea how to treat them differently."

Recent advances in knowledge and technology have made it easier (and less expensive) to sequence individual genomes, especially in the treatment of cancer, which is fundamentally a disease of genes.

But genes are "wildly heterogeneous," said Ideker. It is in combination, influenced by other factors, that mutated genes cause diseases like cancer. Every patient's cancer is genetically unique, which can affect the efficacy and outcomes of clinical treatment.

"When you look at patients' data at the level of genes, everybody looks different," said Ideker. "But when you look at impacted biological networks and systems, groupings do appear. No genes are mutated in exactly the same place, but the mutations do appear in the same genetic pathways."

Specifically, the scientists looked at somatic mutations -- present in tumors but not healthy tissues -- in data from lung, uterine and ovarian cancer patients compiled by The Cancer Genome Atlas, an on-going National Institutes of Health-funded program to gather and catalogue the genomes of thousands of cancer patients.

Ideker said the NBS approach has immediate clinical value. Genome sequencing of cancer patients is rapidly becoming a standard part of diagnosis. Clinicians can use NBS, he said, to better match treatment to cancer subtype. And by chronicling treatment outcomes, funneling those results back into the database, they can further refine and improve cancer therapies, making them as personalized as the individuals themselves.

Co-authors are Matan Hofree, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UCSD; John P. Shen and Hannah Carter, Department of Medicine, UCSD; and Andrew Gross, Department of Bioengineering, UCSD.

Funding for this research came, in part, from National Institutes of Health grants P41 GM103504 and P50 GM085764.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "'Wildly heterogeneous genes: New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects; a step toward personalized medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130915134204.htm>.
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. (2013, September 15). 'Wildly heterogeneous genes: New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects; a step toward personalized medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130915134204.htm
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "'Wildly heterogeneous genes: New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects; a step toward personalized medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130915134204.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins