Researchers at Western University are using cutting-edge genetic mutation-analysis software developed in their lab to interpret mutations in tumour genome that may provide insight into determining which breast cancer tumours are more likely spread to other parts of the body and which ones won’t. Their findings are published today in the journal, Nature Scientific Reports.
“We are using a unique software program in our lab that looks at a type of mutation called a splicing mutation that is typically overlooked using current methods,” said lead author on the study, Stephanie Dorman, a PhD student in the department of biochemistry at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. She said that where previous genetic studies of 445 tumours detected 429 of these splicing mutations, the Western-developed analysis software was able to find more than 5000.
Using this software and human tumour tissue sample genetic data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, the research team pinpointed that mutations in the Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM) and other related genes in NCAM biology were present at a much higher rate in tumours which had metastasized to the lymph nodes than those that did not. NCAM, typically found in neural cells is also highly expressed in breast tissue, and is involved in communication between cells.
“We believe that mutations in these biological pathways in some patients might be causing some of the characteristics of the tumour that enable it to migrate to other parts of the body,” said Dorman.
Dr. Peter Rogan, principal investigator on the study and a Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Computer Science, hopes that these findings will allow oncologists and clinical laboratories looking for these mutations in tumour biopsies to predict which women are at higher risk for more aggressive tumours that might metastasize.
“One of the big issues in breast oncology is that women are sometimes treated with chemotherapy even if their tumour isn’t going to metastasize,” said Rogan. “The ideal situation would be to be able to identify those patients where the side-effects and potential negative consequences of chemotherapy following surgery can be avoided or at least, minimized.”
Dr. Rogan is supported by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs Secretariat and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Ms. Dorman has received fellowships from the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, the Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, and the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Cancer Research and Technology Transfer.
MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.777.1573, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.
ABOUT THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY
The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.
Follow Western Media Relations online:
Crystal Mackay | EurekAlert!
Smartphones as ophthalmoscopes save sight: Cost-effective telemedical eye screening of people with diabetes in India
09.07.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Shorter courses of proton therapy can be just as effective as full courses prostate cancer
08.07.2019 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
17.07.2019 | Earth Sciences
17.07.2019 | Information Technology
17.07.2019 | Materials Sciences