– A new study focused on decoding the genetic chaos found in cancer cells is on the cover of the June issue of the scientific journal Nature.
– This work reveals novel biomarkers with the potential to improve the development of precision therapies and treatment selection for the deadliest types of cancer.
Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have developed a method to understand the genetic chaos observed in the most lethal types of cancer. This information can be used to design more effective precision therapies as well as improve treatment selection for patients. The study is on the cover of the June issue of Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals. The approach described in the paper detects patterns of large DNA alterations in tumor genomes that help make sense of the mutational processes underlying cancer development. A better understanding of the genomic identity of aggressive cancers can lead to improved treatment selection and the development of more effective therapies, which has been virtually impossible for these cancer types to date.
The research was jointy led by Florian Markowetz, Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Geoff Macintyre, Head of the Computational Oncology Group at the CNIO. CRUK researcher Ruben Drews and CNIO researcher Barbara Hernando, also took part in the study, along with scientists from British, Canadian, Belgian and German research centres.
The study investigated chromosomal instability – a distinctive feature of aggressive human cancers. Under normal conditions, a healthy cell will perfectly duplicate and divide, to form two identical daughter cells. Each daughter cell will contain the same number of chromosomes as their parent cell, with the exact same DNA sequence. In cancer cells, however, this duplication does not occur perfectly.
The team that carried out the study have also established a UK-based precision medicine start-up, Tailor Bio. The company has licensed a patent on the method described in the paper published in Nature, and obtained another patent based on previous work on the same subject. The team hope their findings will soon be translated to the clinic.
Reference article: A pan-cancer compendium of chromosomal instability. Ruben M. Drews et al. (Nature 2022) DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04789-9 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04789-9)
SOURCE: CNIO Centro Nacional de Investiganion Oncologica