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Geisel researchers sift through 'junk' to find colorectal cancer clues
Date:5/3/2012

he tumor samples were taken from patients at various stages of disease, adding to the strength of the finding.

Moore, who is also the associate director for bioinformatics at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, adds that what he and Cowper-Sal.lari added to the study was their ability to make sense of mountains of data by developing computer programs and algorithms.

"It's an exciting time in cancer research because we can now sequence entire human genomes and measure the genome on a massive scale, but what's lagging behind are the computational methodsthe software, the algorithms, the statistical approachesto allow us to make sense of this vast amount of information," Moore says. "The DNA sequencing technology to generate the data is moving a lot faster than the computational methods for making sense of it."

Cowper-Sal.lari adds that the intense computation required to do the analysis was only possible because of access to DiscoveryDartmouth's supercomputing cluster.

There are a number of directions the research could go in the future. Cowper-Sal.lari says that if they are able to look at additional samples and find the same patterns, then "the genes that are the targets of these VELs are going to be really good potential therapeutic targets for colorectal cancer."

"That's the ultimate goalto develop drugs," Moore says. "If we can understand the biology of how these genes are turned on and off in cancer, then we can develop drugs to target them and turn them on or off."


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Contact: Derik Hertel
derik.hertel@dartmouth.edu
603-650-1211
Dartmouth College
Source:Eurekalert  

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Geisel researchers sift through 'junk' to find colorectal cancer clues
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