Cancer genomics involves searching for all of the genes and mutations that contribute to the development of a cancer cell and its progression from a localized cancer to metastatic disease that spreads throughout the body. A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, and researchers are now able to analyze the alterations that occur throughout the genome of a patient's cancer cells. Recent advances, such as microarray technology and high-throughput DNA sequencing, have made it possible to characterize tumor samples in exquisite detail.
"You can run a microarray chip that analyzes a million points in the genome and can tell you about changes in the DNA, as well as inherited variations that make a person more or less susceptible to cancer," Haussler said.
Many different types of genomic changes can have clinical significance, including insertions, deletions, and other changes in the DNA sequence, such as changes in the number of copies of a gene. Moreover, microarrays and high-throughput methods for measuring proteins make it possible to see how these genomic alterations interfere with the cell's normal workings.
"The Cancer Genomics Browser is fantastic in that it helps users display many different dimensions of clinical and molecular data simultaneously," Lenburg said. "For example, for a given set of tumor biopsies, it is possible to see which regions of the genome are abnormal, how much of every gene is being expressed, how active various signaling pathways are--all organized by, say, how well each patient responded to a particular drug. As a result, the process of id
|Contact: Tim Stephens|
University of California - Santa Cruz