Skip to main content

In search of new cancer targets

Sep. 9, 2016, 8:00 AM

Molecularly heterogeneous cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer are challenging to treat, because they often lack the “driver” mutations that are targeted by the newest cancer therapies. These cancers exhibit genomic instability, resulting in chromosomal rearrangements and gene fusions, and identifying these alterations is technically difficult.

Timothy Shaver and Brian Lehmann, Ph.D., working with Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., developed a new algorithm, Segmental Transcript Analysis (STA), to predict gene rearrangements.

Using STA, they identified multiple known and novel gene rearrangements in triple-negative breast cancer and then expanded their analysis to other malignancies using a cohort from The Cancer Genome Atlas.

Two of the gene rearrangements that the team characterized in triple-negative breast cancer involve molecular targets for therapies already in clinical investigation or development.

The findings, reported Aug. 15 in Cancer Research, provide evidence that STA is an effective prediction tool for gene rearrangements and highlight the need to advance gene fusion detection for molecularly heterogeneous cancers.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (CA183531, GM008554, CA098131, CA105436, CA068485) and from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to aliquots@vanderbilt.edu

 

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Hope

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Vanderbilt Nurse

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

One hundred years ago, multiple “waves” of a deadly flu swept across the world.

Vanderbilt Medicine

One hundred years ago, multiple “waves” of a deadly flu swept across the world.

more