Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene-based screen sorts cancer cases, say Stanford researchers

29.04.2004


Six genes may hold the answer to whether a person’s lymphoma is likely to respond to treatment. This finding by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine could result in the first gene-based screen to identify people who need the most aggressive therapy.



When a person is diagnosed with diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma, doctors use a group of indicators called the International Prognostic Index, or IPI, which includes a person’s age, tumor stage and blood markers to decide how to treat the cancer. Those with the highest IPI scores get the most aggressive therapy. However, two people with the same score may still react differently to treatment. One thought has been that a genetic screen may fine-tune the distinction between the most aggressive and least aggressive cancers.

"It makes a big difference in your treatment decisions if you think you have a high chance of success or if you don’t," said Ronald Levy, MD, the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professor, who led the study. He said if doctors know a patient isn’t likely to respond well to standard therapy, the patient may be a candidate for novel therapies undergoing clinical trials.


"New therapies are usually tested in people who have failed the standard therapy," Levy said. "If you know in advance who won’t respond well, you can treat them more aggressively or include these patients in trials of the many promising, new targeted therapies."

Over the past five years groups of researchers have used microarrays, which take a snapshot of which genes are active in different tissues, to find large groups of genes that predict a person’s survival. These studies have resulted in huge lists of mostly non-overlapping genes. Not only are there too many genes to be screened by most medical labs, the research groups haven’t agreed on which genes should be part of those screens.

Levy and his colleagues narrowed the list of potentially informative genes down to the 36 most likely candidates. They then analyzed how active those genes were in 66 tumor samples from people with diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma who had been treated at Stanford. The results of this work are published in the April 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

On its own, none of the genes predicted how long a patient lived after treatment. But six of the genes taken together could predict how long the 66 patients survived. Researchers then tested the predictive power of those six genes in patients who participated in two previous microarray studies. In this combined group of 298 patients the six genes once again distinguished between patients who responded well to treatment and those who did not.

Rather than using microarray technology to analyze the genes’ activity, Levy and his colleagues worked with scientists at Applied Biosystems Inc. to develop a screen using a technique called RT-PCR. This approach would be easier for medical labs, which already use RT-PCR for other disease tests. Levy said although microarrays and RT-PCR give similar information, the new test is more likely to become widely used if it is easy to incorporate into existing medical labs. "You want to introduce something that helps people do what they are doing now - but better," he said.

He added that the group still needs to check how well the six genes discriminate between good and bad responders in additional groups of patients, especially those who are receiving therapies that weren’t available when the original patients were treated. If the test can still predict those who need the most aggressive treatment, the researchers will move forward with making the screen widely available. He said doctors would likely combine information from the IPI clinical index with results from the six-gene screen to decide how best to treat the patient.

Postdoctoral scholar Izidore Lossos, MD, was the first author on the paper. Other collaborators include Debra Czerwinski, research assistant; Ash Alizadeh, MD, PhD, postdoctoral scholar; Robert Tibshirani, PhD, professor of health research and policy; and David Botstein, PhD, who was professor of biochemistry at Stanford until last year.


Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

Amy Adams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://mednews.stanford.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another
12.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>