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Chicago Cancer Genome Project studies genetics of 1,000 tumors
Date:12/22/2009

No two tumors are alike, but analyzing the genetics of cancers from different parts of the body may reveal surprising details useful for treatment and prevention.

That process is already gaining traction at the University of Chicago's Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology (IGSB), where researchers are one year into a three-year project to collect and analyze the genetic sequence and variations of every gene expressed by 1,000 tumors.

Over the past year, working closely with physicians, the IGSB team collected complete sequence data for genes expressed by 100 tumors--primarily breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and leukemia. Correlating genetic data with patient outcomes, they have begun to identify genetic patterns within tumors that may help them predict how a cancer will behave. Many experts believe such information will increasingly guide treatment.

"The long-term goal," said IGSB Director Kevin White, James and Karen Frank Family Professor in human genetics and ecology and evolution, "is to translate genomic discoveries into useful diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies. This should improve patient care."

Not to be confused with the "1,000 Genomes Project"--an international effort to sequence all of the DNA from 1,000 individuals selected from hundreds of distinct populations worldwide--the Chicago 1,000-cancer-genomes project is based entirely at the University of Chicago and tightly focused on the genetics of this common disease.

"The Chicago Cancer Genome Project is aimed at teaching us how to use the genetic state of the cells as a guidepost for which treatments should be offered to specific patients," White said.

Cancer is a genetic disease. Each tumor's genes provide clues about the severity of the disease. They can sometimes predict whether a cancer will respond to specific treatments, develop resistance to radiation or chemotherapy, relapse after therapy, or spread to a distant si
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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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