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Neurotransmitters signal aggressive cancer, offer potential for early diagnosis

ces, to obtain information about how active each gene in tumors is.

They combined the mouse data with parallel data from 182 human tumors. Then, the gene-activity data was fed into sophisticated software that supplied the researchers with a prediction about which metabolic reactions were revved up in the tumors and which were slowed down. The last piece of the puzzle was supplied by a highly sensitive instrument, called a mass spectrometer, that measured the products of cellular metabolism. The mass spectrometer measurements were cross-checked with the gene activity data and the predictions of metabolic reactions. This set of techniques demonstrated the linkage of abnormal GABA production to aggressive tumors.

"We are able to examine not just genes, not just proteins, but the chemistry that underlies diseased tissues," Gordon says. "Computational, experimental and instrumental tools are now available to tackle metabolomics and then translate lessons learned at the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside as called for by the University's BioMed 21 initiative."

BioMed 21 is a strategic research initiative that aims to rapidly translate genomic science into patient care. It includes faculty from the schools of Medicine, Engineering & Applied Science and Arts & Sciences.


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Source:Washington University School of Medicine


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