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UCLA cancer researchers perform complete genomic sequencing of brain cancer cell line
Date:1/28/2010

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have performed the first complete genomic sequencing of a brain cancer cell line, a discovery that may lead to personalized treatments based on the unique biological signature of an individual's cancer and a finding that may unveil new molecular targets for which more effective and less toxic drugs can be developed.

The study also may lead to new and better ways to monitor for brain cancer recurrence, allowing for much earlier diagnosis and treatment when the cancer returns. Clinicians also could use the finding to develop a test to determine when the brain cancer has been killed, preventing overtreatment with harmful drugs that can later cause debilitating health problems.

Using the latest technology, the sequencing was done in less than a month and cost about $35,000. By comparison, the sequencing of the human genome took years, required huge teams of scientists and cost more than $1 billion, said Dr. Stan Nelson, a professor of human genetics, a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and senior author of the study.

"This is very exciting because we, as scientists, can now move forward with revealing complete cancer genomes," said Nelson, who directs the cancer center's Gene Expression Shared Resource. "Cancer is at its heart a genetic disease. Cancer cells have acquired mutations that allow them to invade tissues and to not live by the normal rules. The changes from normal (mutations) that have given the cancer these special properties are encoded in DNA, and the entire DNA sequence has just been to complex and costly to decode until now."

The study appears in the Jan. 29, 2009 issue of PLoS Genetics, a peer-reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science.

The sequencing was done on a much studied glioblastoma cell line called U87, which is being used in more than a dozen UCLA cancer laboratories and studied in more than 1,0
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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