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School of Medicine
Promise and Progress - A Personalized Genetic Profile for Brain Cancer
The Time is Now: 2010-2011
A Personalized Genetic Profile for Brain Cancer
Date: November 11, 2010
Cancer Cell, April 15, 2010
A national network of cancer researchers has used personalized genetic profiling to predict an improved prognosis in brain cancer patients.
The team, which included Kimmel Cancer Center cancer biology and epigenetics expert Stephen Baylin, M.D., identified a set of molecular changes in the brain cancer glioblastoma that correlates with better treatment outcomes.
Working with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), the team explored genetic and epigenetic alterations in 273 glioblastomas, a highly lethal form of brain cancer. (Genetic alterations change cell behavior by directly mutating its DNA. Epigenetic alterations change cell behavior by altering the chemical environment of its DNA.)
“The ability to differentiate brain tumors based on their altered genetic code lays the groundwork for more effective treatment strategies, such as targeted drug treatments,” says Baylin, the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research.
The investigators identified a distinct subset of 24 glioblastomas with heavy areas of methylation, a process in which biochemicals called methyl groups are added to certain DNA sequences. Patients tended to be younger at diagnosis and had significantly longer survival times. In addition to the methylation, the cancers had distinct molecular features, including a high frequency of IDH1 gene mutations.
"The depth and breadth of expertise in The Cancer Genome Atlas research network, combined with ever-improving genomic technologies, is generating remarkably detailed insights into cancer,” says NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Ongoing TCGA research projects are focused on genetic and epigenetic alterations in ovarian, lung, and colon cancers.
This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and grants from the Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative, the V Foundation and the Rose Foundation.
Articles in this Issue
Cover Story: Personalized Medicine is Here, The Time is Now
- Personalized Medicine is Here: The Time is Now
- Cover Story Sidebar: Our Cancer Research is Curing Other Diseases Too
- Cover Story Sidebar: A New Paradigm for Cancer Drug Discovery
- Cover Story Sidebar: Personalized Approaches in Pediatric Cancer
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Frankenstein Project
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Serendipitous Discovery of a Cancer Starter
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Mathematics of Curing Cancer
- Immune Cell Commander
- A Personalized Genetic Profile for Brain Cancer
- A New "Twist" in Breast Cancer
- JHU Engineering Student Invents Melanoma Screening Device
- Special Delivery: Biodegradable Particles Transport Drugs to Diseased Tissues and Organs
- Targeting Brain Cancer Stem Cells
- Vaccine Clears Out Leukemia Cells
- Does Low Cholesterol Equal Lower Risk of High-Grade Prostate Cancer?
- A Common Good - The Commonwealth Foundation
- Helping Us Solve The Cancer Puzzle
- The Skip Viragh Center
- Making Waves to Fight Cancer
- Gift Brings Complementary Care to Cancer Patients
- A Major Gift for Kidney Cancer Research
- Giant Food Supports Childhood Cancer Research
- Wawa Cares About Cancer Patients
- Young Lacrosse Players Faced Off Against Childhood Cancer