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Cancer Genomics Browser gives cancer researchers a powerful new tool
Date:3/30/2009

SANTA CRUZ, CA--A Cancer Genomics Browser developed by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, provides a new way to visualize and analyze data from studies aimed at improving cancer treatment by unraveling the complex genetic roots of the disease.

The browser consists of a suite of web-based tools designed to help researchers find patterns in the huge amounts of clinical and genomic data being gathered in large-scale cancer studies. Medical researchers hope to identify genetic signatures and other "biomarkers" in cancer cells that can be used to predict how individual patients will respond to different therapies throughout the course of their treatment.

A paper describing the Cancer Genomics Browser has been published in the April issue of Nature Methods by a team based at the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC. Coauthor David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering, said development of the browser was driven by the needs of cancer researchers, who are now using powerful technologies for genome analysis and DNA sequencing in their efforts to understand cancer at the molecular level.

"Each of these tests gives millions of measurements, and the result is a bad case of data overload," Haussler said. "We've built the cancer browser so that researchers can upload their data and use a variety of software tools to visualize and interpret their results."

To get a user's perspective on the browser as it took shape, Haussler's team worked closely with Dr. Laura Esserman, professor of surgery and radiology at UC San Francisco, and Marc Lenburg, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Esserman and Lenburg, both coauthors of the paper, are involved in the I-SPY Trial, a multi-institutional collaboration aimed at identifying biomarkers to predict the most effective therapies for patients with advanced breast cancer.

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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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