Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover new genetic subtypes of common blood cancer

11.04.2006
Varied gene signatures in multiple myeloma cells predict different outcomes, provide treatment targets

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborators have identified four distinct genetic subtypes of multiple myeloma, a deadly blood cancer, that have different prognoses and might be treated most effectively with drugs specifically targeted to those subtypes.

A new computational tool based on an algorithm designed to recognize human faces plucked the four distinguishing gene patterns out of a landscape of many DNA alterations in the myeloma genome, the researchers report in the April issue of Cancer Cell.

These results "define new disease subgroups of multiple myeloma that can be correlated with different clinical outcomes," wrote the authors, led by Ronald DePinho, MD, director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Applied Cancer Science.

Not only do the findings pave the way for treatments tailored to a patient’s specific form of the disease, they also narrow down areas of the chromosomes in myeloma cells likely to contain undiscovered genetic flaws that drive myeloma, and which might turn out to be vulnerable to targeted designer drugs.

Kenneth Anderson, MD, medical director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber and an author of the paper, said the findings "allow us to predict how patients will respond to current treatments based on a genetic analysis of their disease." In addition, the findings "identify many new genes implicated in the cause and progression of myeloma, and the product of those genes can be targeted with novel therapies."

Multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is incurable, although some patients live for a number of years following diagnosis. About 50,000 people in the United States are living with the disease, and an estimated 16,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Despite improvements in therapy, the five-year survival rate in multiple myeloma is only 32 percent and durable responses are rare.

The new report emerged from a collaboration involving DePinho’s Dana-Farber group, Cameron Brennan, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and John Shaughnessy, MD, of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Lead authors are Daniel Carrasco, MD, PhD, and Giovanni Tonon, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber, and Yongsheng Huang, MS, of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science.

Myeloma cells’ genomes are scenes of rampant chaos: extra or missing chromosomes; pieces of broken chromosomes randomly reattached; genes that are mutated or amplified – present in too many copies – or are overexpressed or absent. The roles played by these myriad abnormalities in the initiation and progression of myeloma are only beginning to be understood, but it’s been observed that different abnormalities are often found from one patient to the next.

Previously, scientists had identified two genetic subtypes of myeloma. One, called hyperdiploid MM, is characterized by extra copies of entire chromosomes, and patients with this subtype appear to fare better. The non-hyperdiploid form lacks these extra chromosomes and instead has abnormal rearrangements between different chromosomes, and the outlook is generally worse for these patients.

The collaborating researchers sought to cast a wide net to capture as many of the genetic flaws in myeloma cells as possible, creating a comprehensive atlas of this cancerous genome. First, they used a technique called high-resolution array CGH (comparative genomic hybridization) to analyze samples from 67 newly diagnosed patients provided by Shaughnessy in Arkansas. The CGH technique compared the genomes of a normal blood cell with various myeloma cells in search of differences. The goal was to identify recurrent copy number alterations – hotspots on the chromosomes where genes were abnormally duplicated or lost across many different tumors.

The CGH analysis netted a large number of areas showing such alterations in the myeloma cells from patients. Then the scientists asked whether any specific pattern or combination of these aberrations in an individual patient might help predict how aggressive the disease would be.

For this deeper analysis, the researchers created an algorithm based on a recently developed computational method designed to recognize individuals by facial features. It is called non-negative matrix factorization, or NMF. In the myeloma study, the algorithm was used to group the results in a way that yielded distinctive genomic features from the CGH data.

Four distinct myeloma subtypes based on genetic patterns emerged: Two of them corresponded to the non-hyperdiploid and hyperdiploid types, and the latter was found to contain two further subdivisions, called k1 and k2 When these subgroups were checked against the records of the patients from whom the samples were taken, it showed that those with the k1 pattern had a longer survival than those with k2. Digging still deeper, the scientists found evidence suggesting that certain molecular signatures within the subgroups are responsible for the differences in outcomes, providing a clear and productive path for further research.

This narrowing down of potential genes and proteins within the subgroups "is a huge advance," comments DePinho. "If you know that a certain gene is driving the disease and influences the clinical behavior of the disease in humans, it immediately goes to the top of the list as a prime candidate for drug development."

Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.danafarber.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>