Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists fingerprint single cancer cells to map cancer's family tree

Date:
November 18, 2013
Source:
Institute of Cancer Research
Summary:
Scientists have used a DNA sequencing technique to identify mutations present across thousands of cancer cells in three patients with leukemia. The technique can identify the founding mutations from which a tumor evolved, and uses computer software to map the cancer's family tree. The findings could be used to identify the key mutations that occur early in a tumor's development, allowing doctors to use targeted treatments more effectively.

The study found that each patient's cancer had a distinct family tree, with a unique series of mutations driving their growth.
Credit: © Naeblys / Fotolia

A new method to take the DNA fingerprint of individual cancer cells is uncovering the true extent of cancer's genetic diversity, new research reveals.

Related Articles


The technique can identify the founding mutations from which a tumour evolved and then uses computer software to draw a map of the cancer's family tree.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute used DNA sequencing to identify a panel of mutations present across thousands of cancer cells in three patients with leukaemia. They then tested hundreds of individual cancer cells for each of the mutations to determine their genetic fingerprint and place them into cancer's family tree.

The study found that each patient's cancer had a distinct family tree, with a unique series of mutations driving their growth.

The findings could be used to identify the key mutations that occur early in the development of tumours, allowing doctors to use targeted treatments more effectively.

The study, published in the journal Genome Research, was funded by Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and the Wellcome Trust.

Tumours grow through a process of Darwinian evolution, where cancer cells develop an advantageous mutation that allows them to survive and multiply, producing a population of cells which can mutate further.

Sequencing the whole genome of a cancer provides a tally of the many mutations that accumulate within it, but can fail to identify where mutations have branched off the evolutionary tree to produce distinct sub-populations of cells.

Targeted cancer treatments are designed to attack molecules produced by mutations, but if the targeted mutation occurs on an evolutionary branch and not the trunk, the treatment will fail as other branches dominate and treatment resistant cells spread.

The new technique used software to assign the cancer cell with the fewest mutations as the ancestral clone and place it at the root of the evolutionary family tree, with the other clones arranged as branches above it.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. E. Potter, L. Ermini, E. Papaemmanuil, G. Cazzaniga, G. Vijayaraghavan, I. Titley, A. Ford, P. Campbell, L. Kearney, M. Greaves. Single-cell mutational profiling and clonal phylogeny in cancer. Genome Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1101/gr.159913.113

Cite This Page:

Institute of Cancer Research. "Scientists fingerprint single cancer cells to map cancer's family tree." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118091757.htm>.
Institute of Cancer Research. (2013, November 18). Scientists fingerprint single cancer cells to map cancer's family tree. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118091757.htm
Institute of Cancer Research. "Scientists fingerprint single cancer cells to map cancer's family tree." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118091757.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

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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