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 December 21, 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 December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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