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 Exciting Plant Vacuoles
14.06.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht A microscopic topographic map of cellular function
13.06.2019 | University of Missouri-Columbia

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

Im Focus: Cost-effective and individualized advanced electronic packaging in small batches now available

Fraunhofer IZM is joining the EUROPRACTICE IC Service platform. Together, the partners are making fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) for electronic devices available and affordable even in small batches – and thus of interest to research institutes, universities, and SMEs. Costs can be significantly reduced by up to ten customers implementing individual fan-out wafer level packaging for their ICs or other components on a multi-project wafer. The target group includes any organization that does not produce in large quantities, but requires prototypes.

Research always means trying things out and daring to do new things. Research institutes, universities, and SMEs do not produce in large batches, but rather...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Concert of magnetic moments

14.06.2019 | Information Technology

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

14.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

New imaging modality targets cholesterol in arterial plaque

14.06.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>