Genetic errors identified in 12 major cancer types

By analyzing the DNA in more than 3,000 tumors, scientists led by Li Ding, PhD, at The Genome Institute have identified 127 repeatedly mutated genes that likely drive the growth of a range of cancers in the body. The discovery sets the stage for devising new diagnostic tools and more personalized cancer treatments.

Decoding cancer patients’ genomes is powerful diagnostic tool

Two new studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Washington University researchers including Timothy Ley, MD, and Richard Wilson, PhD, highlight the power of sequencing cancer patients’ genomes as a diagnostic tool, helping doctors decide the best course of treatment and researchers identify new cancer susceptibility mutations that can be passed from parent to child.

Gene chip technology may identify life-threatening blood infection

Right now there’s no rapid way to diagnose sepsis, a fast-moving blood infection that is a leading cause of death in hospital intensive care units. Doctors who suspect sepsis typically rush to prescribe powerful antibiotics, but this can lead to the inappropriate treatment of patients with uncontrollable inflammation without an underlying infection. New research at the School of Medicine suggests that doctors one day could quickly distinguish sepsis from widespread non-infectious inflammation based on genetic profiles of patients’ blood.

Gene chip technology shows potential for identifying life-threatening blood infection

Right now there’s no rapid way to diagnose sepsis, a fast-moving blood infection that is a leading cause of death in hospital intensive care units. Doctors who suspect sepsis typically rush to prescribe powerful antibiotics, but this can lead to the inappropriate treatment of patients with uncontrollable inflammation without an underlying infection. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that doctors one day could quickly distinguish sepsis from widespread non-infectious inflammation based on genetic profiles of patients’ blood.

No consensus on when, how, by whom — even if — Alzheimer’s patients are told of their disease

Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association, St. Louis ChapterA WUSTL psychologist says there is little consensus among doctors when it comes to disclosing a dementia diagnosis to patients and their caregivers.To tell or not to tell, that is the question. Should Alzheimer’s disease patients be told of the diagnosis? If so, when, how and by whom? Brian D. Carpenter, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, conducted a review of related study literature that shows there is little consensus among clinicians on the issue of disclosing a dementia diagnosis and great room for much more research. Carpenter’s review, done with research assistant Jennifer Dave, was published in the April 2004 issue of The Gerontologist. “If contemporary debate and practice are any indication, there is no consensus on these matters,” Carpenter says in the article “Disclosing a Dementia Diagnosis: A Review of Opinion and Practice, and a Proposed Research Agenda.”