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Cancer Genome Project releases first results

19 July 2010
Appeared in BioNews 567

The largest study to link cancer cells' genetics with their sensitivity to treatment published its first results on the 15 July.

The initial Cancer Genome Project dataset includes the responses of 350 cancer samples to 18 anticancer therapies. Among the new findings are that melanoma skin cancers, which have activating mutations in the BRAF gene, are sensitive to drugs that target the BRAF protein - a treatment already used on melanoma patients.

'It is very encouraging that we are able to clearly identify drug-gene interactions that are known to have clinical impact at an early stage in the study. It suggests that we will discover many [new] interactions even before we have the full complement of cancer cell lines and drugs screened', said Dr Ultan McDermott, a study researcher from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at Cambridge, UK.

The full, five-year international study aims to find the best drug cocktails for treating a wide range of cancer types. The study team, led by researchers from the Sanger Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre in the USA, will expose 1000 different cancer cell lines to 400 anti-cancer treatments. The aim is to link drug sensitivity to measurements of mutations in key cancer genes, structural changes in the cancer cells and differences in gene activity. How a patient responds to their cancer treatment is thought to be dependent on the number and type of mutations in their cancer cells.

The new research is published on the Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer website.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Largest study of genomes and cancer treatments releases first results
PhysOrg.com |  15 July 2010
New Clues to How Cancer Patients' Genes Influence Treatment
Businessweek |  15 July 2010
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