NEW YORK, CAMBRIDGE, Mass., AND BOSTON (Feb. 9, 2011) -- For the first time, researchers have laid bare the full genetic blueprint of multiple prostate tumors, uncovering alterations that have never before been detected and offering a deep view of the genetic missteps that underlie the disease. The study, made possible by key advances in whole genome sequencing and analysis, points to several new prostate cancer genes and a critical category of genomic changes as important drivers of prostate cancer growth. The work was led by researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, the Broad Institute, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and appears in the Feb. 10th issue of the journal Nature.
Unlike other sequencing methods that target specific sections of the genome, whole genome sequencing enables researchers to look across the entire DNA landscape of a tumor, making it possible to discern global changes and patterns. Senior authors Drs. Levi Garraway and Mark Rubin and their colleagues used this strategy to view the complete genomes of seven prostate tumors and compare them to normal tissue samples to find regions of abnormality.
"Whole genome sequencing gives us fascinating new insights into a category of alterations that may be especially important in prostate cancer," says Dr. Garraway, a senior associate member of the Broad Institute and a medical oncologist and assistant professor at the Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School.
Prostate cancer is the second most lethal cancer in American men, responsible for more than 30,000 deaths and more than 200,000 new cases each year. A major goal of prostate cancer research is to identify potential drug targets as well as genetic characteristics within tumors that could distinguish indolent and aggressive forms of the disease, and ultimately improve diagnostics and treatment.
Dr. Rubin, the Homer T. Hirst Professor of Oncology in Pathology and vice chair for experimental pat
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New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College