Tumour cells can accumulate hundreds or even thousands of DNA mutations which induce the growth and spread of cancer. The number and pattern of mutations differs according to the type of tumour, even among those that are classified as part of the same type of tumours. This complexity, which researchers were not aware of just a few years ago, calls for new tools to filter relevant genetic information for the implementation and development of personalised therapies targeted at specific characteristics within each individual tumour.
Researchers led by Manuel Hidalgo, Vice-Director of Translational Research at CNIO, have developed a new strategy to personalised medicine in advanced cancer patients with a poor prognosis. The study has been published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Applying this new tool, the treatments induced clinical responses in up to 77% of patients, either through the stabilisation of their condition or through a partial clinical response.
During the first phase, the authors analysed the genetic signature of the tumours specifically, the hundreds of millions of letters that make up the exome; the part of the genome whose information produces proteins in 23 patients suffering from advanced cancers, such as pancreatic adenocarcinomas and colon cancer. By using whole exome sequencing and bioinformatics analyses, researchers picked out mutations that could play an important role in the growth and spread of tumours.
The second part of the study involved the use of Avatar mice to study potentially effective treatments according to the patient's genetic signature. As Elena Garralda, predoctoral researcher from Hidalgo's Group, points out, avatar mice are "one of the key aspects of our research."
AVATAR MICE: A TESTING GROUND FOR DRUGS
Avatar mice are used as a testing ground, with each patient having their own equivalent animal, in order to study the effectiveness of drugs under real
|Contact: Nuria Noriega|
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO)