Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Parsing the genome of a deadly brain tumor

08.09.2008
The most comprehensive to-date genomic analysis of a cancer – the deadly brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme – shows previously unrecognized changes in genes and provides an overall view of the missteps in the pathways that govern the growth and behavior of cells, said members of The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature.

"This was a big thrust for the public project," said Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, a member of the network and a co-author of the paper. "This answers the big question about whether the cancer genome project is worthwhile. The results show that it is—definitely." The BCM Center, the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts led the effort that included many members from across the nation.

This interim analysis of 91 tumors and 623 genes provides important clues about how the disease originates and progresses in cells and how it eludes the effects of potent anti-cancer drugs and radiation, said Dr. David Wheeler, associate professor in the Genome Sequencing Center and a co-author of the report. It could provide researchers with clues about how to treat the disease. The Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center was a major component in the effort to sequence the genes and identify mutations and changes that affected the ways cells react.

"Studies like this show the breadth of mutation across many genes," said Wheeler. "We can see the mutations in all the genes of each pathway that control growth, replication and death in the cancer cell. Researchers have never seen the whole landscape like this before, and it's providing many new insights into strategies to diagnose and treat cancer."

The ultimate goal of the project is to sequence the entire exome – that portion of the genetic blueprint that provides the code for proteins – of the tumor, said Wheeler. In fact, he said, the goal is to sequence genes in 500 brain cancer samples, but the network decided to publish preliminary results.

"When we pulled everything together with just 91 samples, the results were so interesting and important for treatment that we felt we should publish before the end of the project," he said.

Glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor. Most people live approximately one year after diagnosis. Understanding this cancer could result in better forms of treatment.

The analysis identified some genes known to cause cancer but whose role in glioblastoma had been previously underestimated, he said. For example, the genes ERBB2 (known to be implicated in breast and other cancers) and NF1 (neurofibromatosis gene 1 involved in a variety of tumors) were both found to be frequently mutated in this brain tumor. Other genes that previously had no known role in glioblastoma such as PIK3R1, a gene involved in regulating the metabolic actions of insulin were also found mutated in a variety of tumors.

In addition, the analysis gave scientists a wide view of how cell pathways are altered during the initiation and growth of glioblastoma.

"If we know what pathways are key to the formation of a tumor, we can design drugs to block those pathways," said Wheeler. "In cancer, key pathways are co-opted to make the cell grow and divide in an uncontrolled fashion."

For example, the TP53 pathway tells mutated cells to die in a process called apoptosis.

"It's a fail-safe mechanism," said Wheeler. "If a cell starts to become cancerous, p53 causes the cell to kill itself. If that pathway is knocked out, the cell avoids the fail-safe mechanism and can continue to divide."

Other pathways involved in the sequencing effort are also disrupted to allow the cancer to grow, he said.

Glenna Picton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>