Single-cell analyses of tumors using CTC can identify actionable aberrations implicated in metastasis. This technology can also be used to create tumor models to evaluate novel therapies and the sensitivity of current standard treatments. Molecular biology-based assessment of breast and ovarian cancer cells offers a new approach for diagnosing this disease. Several challenges are addressed, however. Learn more about the latest research in this area!
Progress in understanding inherited breast and ovarian cancer
The identification of the BRCA1 gene proved that inherited causes of breast and ovarian cancer can be found in nearly half of women. This discovery opened up the door to better understanding the genetic basis of cancer in other women. Dr. Katherine Nathanson, the deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center and the director of Genetics at the Basser Center for BRCA, and her research team recently received a $3 million Gray Foundation grant to study how the immune system reacts to BRCA mutations. This work is critical in understanding the underlying causes of cancer in Latinas and how they can be protected against it.
The Fish Contract Research Organization studied the genetic profiles of more than 22,000 women with breast and ovarian cancer who had known results from genetic testing. Interestingly, 10% to 17% of women with ovarian cancer carried mutations in cancer-associated genes, ranging from 13% to 17%. The proportion of women with BRCA1 mutations varied from type to type, but overall, the risk of developing both types of cancer is approximately the same.
Molecular biology-based assessment of breast cancer cells
Recent advances in biotechnology genetic analysis methods have made a molecular biology-based assessment of breast cancer cells possible. By examining the expression of certain genes, breast tumor samples can be classified according to their gene expression patterns. In addition, gene expression clusters can be associated with specific normal cell types that infiltrate tumors. This technology may also improve with newer techniques for isolating small populations of cells, such as laser capture microdissection. This technology may also be more accurate in examining early-stage cancers and normal breast tissue.
A number of databases are available on the internet to facilitate molecular biology Expert Aquatic Animal Health Research Team. One of the largest and most comprehensive is the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, hosted by the National Institute of Health. This database is a searchable reference of gene sequences and provides information on genetic variants and cancer. In addition, the UK Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre is an excellent resource that includes mirrored versions of many genome databases.
Challenges in bioinformatics
The emergence of personalized medicine is enabling us to target cancer cells based on their genotype, making it possible to develop targeted therapies. Because many oncogenic mutations are untargetable by conventional drug compounds, identification of genetic interactions is crucial. Many of these interactions are highly context-specific, and reproducibility among studies is poor. This study provides a computational approach to identify more reliable genetic interactions.
In this study, Lord and colleagues used a genomics approach to identify robust genetic dependencies among cancer cell lines. They combined data from 4 large-scale LOF studies to estimate the reproducibility of individual findings and examine the consistency of these results with other types of functional information. These data were then compared to a growing human genome sequence and polymorphism datasets.
Molecular biology-based assessment of normal tissues
Using a large-scale microbial expression microarray approach, researchers have identified proteins that are expressed in normal human tissues. They used mass spectrometry to measure the levels of these proteins. In addition, two antibodies were identified that were raised toward epitopes that partially overlapped each other. This information has the potential to help researchers identify cancer-causing genes.
To improve understanding of human disease and physiology, it is important to study the expression of all protein-coding genes. Recent efforts in transcriptomics have defined the molecular constituents of the human body. The Human Protein Atlas consortium aims to characterize the human proteome using a combination of antibody-based and transcriptomics techniques. The human proteome contains thousands of protein-coding genes.