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

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"Sometimes it's difficult to tell if a cancer is coming back or if what you're seeing is scar tissue," Nelson said. "Scientists could develop a sensitive molecular assay that looks for a unique mutation found only in the cancer cells and not in the healthy cells. If that mutation is found by the assay, the cancer has returned and patients could be promptly treated when the recurrence is at its earliest stage and easiest to treat. Conversely, such an assay could be used to determine when the cancer has been effectively eliminated and it's safe to discontinue what are harmful treatments."

Just that one simple assay, Nelson said, would have an amazing impact on how cancers are treated.

"Oncologists would be able to know, definitively, when they can stop giving chemotherapy because it's no longer needed or when they have to resume chemotherapy because the cancer has returned," he said.

Nelson and his team created a web site where researchers can access and retrieve the sequencing data for use in their own experiments, a sort of mini human genome project. Nelson believes sequencing all cancer genomes will result in a significant paradigm shift in the way cancers are treated.

The team of scientists within Nelson's lab has set up a process at UCLA to sequence other cancer cell lines in a highly accurate and cost effective way. His goal is to be able to sequence a patient's individual cancer and turn the data around quickly enough to provide oncologists with the information they need to make immediate treatment decisions.


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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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