Cancer is a life-threatening as well as incapacitating disease. A lot of children suffer from this deadly disease. Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have declared a first-of-its-kind attempt to recognize the genetic alterations that may generate some of the world’s most fatal childhood cancers.
The team wants to decipher the genomes of over 600 childhood cancer patients, who have apparently added tumor samples for this significant endeavor. Study authors implicated in the project could sequence the entire genomes of normal as well as cancer cells from every patient, comparing dissimilarities in the DNA to recognize genetic mistakes that may result in cancer.
William E. Evans, Pharm.D, St. Jude director and chief executive officer, commented, “We are on the threshold of a revolution in our understanding of the origins of cancer. For the first time in history, we have the tools to identify all of the genetic abnormalities that turn a white blood cell into a leukemia cell or a brain cell into a brain tumor. We believe it is from this foundation that advances for 21st-century cancer diagnosis and treatment will come.”
Memphis-based St. Jude is claimed to be the abode to one of the world’s biggest and most inclusive repositories of biological details about childhood cancer. The compilation comprises of information from 1970s and encompasses over 50,000 tumors, bone marrow, blood and other biological samples. These samples may be vital to comprehend the origins of cancer. The tissue bank has also aided St. Jude scientists create the experimental models anticipated to be significant for deciding which mutations may propel cancer’s growth and transmission.
The alliance appears to concentrate on childhood leukemias, brain tumors and tumors of bone, muscle and other connective tissues known as sarcomas. St. Jude may supply DNA from tumor and normal tissues of patients, Washington University’s Genome Center is all set to conduct entire genome sequencing, and both may take part in validation sequencing. Scientists from both institutions will team up to examine the data and make the information openly accessible once legalized. Preceding study by this group and others could signify that several genetic abnormalities in childhood cancers possibly vary from those discovered in adult cancers.
Experts from Washington University’s Genome Center apparently initiated for whole genome sequencing of cancer patients genomes. In 2008, Richard Wilson, Ph.D., director of the center, together with co-director Elaine Mardis, Ph.D., and Timothy Ley, M.D., the Alan and Edith Wolff Professor of Medicine, and colleagues were claimed to be the first to interpret the complete genome of a cancer patient and pin down the disease to its genetic roots.
Supposedly, they have since sequenced the genomes of extra cancer patients, counting those with breast, lung and ovarian tumors and glioblastoma, a kind of brain tumor. These studies have appeared to recognize interesting and unforeseen genetic associations between patients with dissimilar kinds of cancer that probably would not have been found by means of traditional approaches.
The whole-genome method included in this teamwork offer a more thorough and total image of all the mutations caught up in a patient’s cancer by investigating both the protein-coding genes as well as the long stretches of DNA between genes, which may control the ways the genes function. Such complete genomic sequencing may now be feasible due to new progress in the technological field.
Scientists included in the project are all set to examine how pediatric cancer could be impacted by differences in the genome, counting epigenetic changes, which is said to modify the expression of genes but not the genes themselves. They can also utilize DNA sequencing data to recognize genetic markers that may aid physicians to determine the best treatment alternatives for cancer patients based on the genetic profile of their tumors.