Decoding the DNA of patients with advanced breast cancer has allowed scientists to identify distinct cancer “signatures” that could help predict which women are most likely to benefit from estrogen-lowering therapy, while sparing others from unnecessary treatment.
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are using powerful DNA sequencing technology not only to identify mutations at the root of a patient’s tumor – considered key to personalizing cancer treatment – but to map the genetic evolution of disease and monitor response to treatment.
By mapping the evolution of cancer cells in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes who later died of leukemia, Timothy Graubert, Matthew Walter and their Washington University colleagues have found clues to suggest that targeted cancer drugs should be aimed at mutations that develop early in the disease.
Disease-causing bacteria’s efforts to resist antibiotics may get help from their distant bacterial relatives that live in the soil, new research by Kevin Forsberg, a graduate student at Washington University School of Medicine suggests. The researchers found identical genes for antibiotic resistance in soil bacteria and in pathogens from clinics around the world.
DNA sequences from tumor cells can be used to direct the immune system to attack cancer, according to Robert Schreiber, PhD, the Alumni Professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research, in mice, appears online Feb. 8 in Nature.
The chemotherapy drugs required to push a common form of adult leukemia into remission may contribute to DNA damage that can lead to a relapse of the disease in some patients, findings of a new study suggest.
Scientists have uncovered a critical genetic mutation in some patients with myelodysplastic syndromes — a group of blood cancers that can progress to a fatal form of leukemia. The research team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis also found evidence that patients with the mutation are more likely to develop acute leukemia.
Washington University’s Department of Genetics has established the Genome Technology Access Center to offer high-speed genome sequencing and other advanced genetic technologies to scientists both within and beyond the university.
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.
In the single largest cancer genomics investigation reported to date, scientists have sequenced the whole genomes of tumors from 50 breast cancer patients and compared them to the matched DNA of the same patients’ healthy cells. They uncovered incredible complexity in the cancer genomes, but also got a glimpse of new routes toward personalized medicine.