Scientists map genetic evolution of leukemia

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.

Soil bacteria and pathogens share antibiotic resistance genes

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 sequencing helps identify cancer cells for immune system attack

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.

Key genetic error found in family of blood cancers

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.

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.

DNA of 50 breast cancer patients decoded

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.