ANN ARBOR, Mich. As cancer researchers continue to identify genetic mutations driving different cancer subtypes, they are also creating a catalog of possible targets for new treatments.
The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) recently completed a pilot study aimed at solving the practical challenges involved in quickly and systematically sequencing genetic material from patients with advanced or treatment-resistant cancer in order to match them with existing clinical trials based on the biomarkers identified.
"We're talking about more than just examining a few genes where mutations are known to occur, or even about a hundred genes," says co-lead investigator Dan Robinson, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at MCTP. "We're talking about the ability to sequence more than 20,000 genes and look not just for individual genetic mutations, but at combinations of mutations."
The exploratory study, known as the Michigan Oncology Sequencing Project (MI-ONCOSEQ), found that identifying a patient's "mutational landscape" provides a promising approach for identifying which trials may best help a patient, the researchers say. Their findings were published today in Science Translational Medicine.
"High-throughput sequencing harnesses the latest technological advances to process millions of pieces of genetic information, allowing us to map a cancer's genetic aberrations," says co-lead investigator Sameek Roychowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical lecturer in hematology and oncology at the U-M Medical School. "Using this technique to identify biomarker-driven treatment options really opens the door for personalized oncology, but it also presents a number of logistical challenges, chief among them making the results available cost-effectively and in a clinically relevant timeframe."
"A decade or two ago, this type of sequencing would have cost many millions or even b
|Contact: Ian Demsky|
University of Michigan Health System