A new study from researchers at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill may change the way cancer is classified, diagnosed, and treated. The study alters traditional approaches to cancer treatment and could have a significant impact the future of drug development.
Researchers analyzed over 3,500 tumors from 12 different tissue types, making this cancer genetic analysis the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted.
In a UNC-Chapel Hill news release senior author Chuck Perou, Ph.D., said, “We found that one in 10 cancers analyzed in this study would be classified differently using this new approach. That means that 10 percent of the patients might be better off getting a different therapy – that’s huge.”
The news release explains that throughout the last decade most research has identified cancer as not just one disease, but different types and subtypes of different diseases based on type of body tissue - colon, breast, lung, etc. In this traditional approach, treatments are determined based on these tissue types and their locations in the body.
This new study, published in the scientific journal Cell last week, proposes a different solution. The researchers found genomic similarities based on the type of cell from which the tumor originates rather than type of tissue in which the cell is located.
These findings could change the design of future cancer drugs. Researchers could develop drugs to target larger groups of cancers based on genomic similarities in cells rather than a single type of tumor.
This breakthrough study could have major implications for the classifications of various types of cancer, which could change the future of cancer treatment as a whole.
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- An interesting article on whether or not elderly should consider colon cancer screening, despite the recommended upper age limit of 75.
- A novel web-based tool enables researchers to quickly and easily visualize large amounts of genetic data.