Cancer Genome Atlas

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Scientists at the Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine have identified 127 significantly mutated genes that they believe drive the development of cancer. This knowledge has the potential to lay the groundwork for new diagnostic tests and individualized treatment for different types of cancers, says Li Ding, assistant professor of medicine and assistant director at the Genome Institute at Washington University and the paper's senior author.

Benjamin Raphael, Brown University

In separate studies both published today, researchers at Washington University mapped the genomes of two types of cancer: endometrial cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia.

Both studies are part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, an effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the genetic basis of 20 major human cancers.

Matthew Ellis / Washington University

Researchers at Washington University used new technology to unravel the entire genetic helix for a subset of breast cancer, called basal-like, and found that it is more like ovarian cancer than other types of breast cancer.

The study’s co-Leader, Mathew Ellis, said that means techniques used to tackle ovarian cancer could be more effective than traditional methods for basal-like breast cancer.

“The more we understand about an individual breast cancer the more we can actually treat the patient accurately,” Ellis said.  “I like to call this genome forward medicine.”