Skip to main content
• Social Media: Connect with UsAccessibility  |  About  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms

Genetic Differences Between Cancer and Non-Cancer Patients

  • Published: 2011-02-23 : Virginia Tech.
  • Synopsis: New technology detects distinct genetic changes differentiating cancer patients.

Main Document

New Technology Pinpoints Genetic Differences Between Cancer and Non-Cancer Patients.

A group of researchers led by scientists from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech have developed a new technology that detects distinct genetic changes differentiating cancer patients from healthy individuals and could serve as a future cancer predisposition test.

The multidisciplinary team, which includes researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has created a design for a new DNA microarray that allows them to measure the two million micro-satellites (short, repetitive DNA sequences) found within the human genome using 300,000 probes.

Micro-satellites, which tend to vary greatly among individuals and have traditionally been used in forensics and paternity tests, are also used to uncover information related to a number of other genetic diseases such as Fragile-X or Huntington's disease. This advancement aided the discovery of a unique pattern of micro-satellite variation in breast cancer patients that were not present in the DNA of patients who are cancer-free. Through their evaluation of global changes in the genome, the researchers determined that this pattern change alludes to a new mechanism disrupting the genome in cancer patients and may represent a new breast cancer risk biomarker. The results of the work will be featured in an upcoming edition of the journal Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer. The study is available online (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21240973).

"We have now arrived at a new biomarker - an indicator that could be used to evaluate the amount of risk that you have for developing cancer in the future," explained Harold "Skip" Garner, VBI executive director who leads the institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division (bit.ly/g280kb). "This is part of an effort to understand their (micro-satellite) role in the genome and then proceed on directly towards something that is of utility in the clinic. What just came out in our paper is a description of the technology that allows us to very quickly and efficiently and inexpensively measure these two million places using a uniquely designed microarray... It's the pattern on that microarray that provides us the information we need."

Watch a video of Garner discussing the research and its implications (www.youtube.com/watchv=I0BOq5b5HnM).

Only a small percentage of micro-satellites have been linked to cancer and other diseases because there hasn't been an effective method available for evaluating large numbers of these sequences. This technology is enabling scientists to understand the role of these understudied parts of our genome for the first time and may help explain the difference between the known genetic components in disease and those that have been explained by genomic studies. This tool can be used to identify and better understand genetic changes in many different types of cancer with the potential to serve as a universal cancer biomarker. It has already been instrumental in the discovery of a new biomarker (bit.ly/gPcJkC) in the estrogen-related receptor gamma (ERR-γ) gene, which indicates an individual's increased risk for breast cancer. The group is now pursuing a number of these cancer predisposition risk markers in colon, lung, and other cancers.

This work was funded by the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, the P.O'B Montgomery & Company Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology, and a National Institutes of Health Cardiology Fellowship, and was partially supported by the University of Texas' National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute SPORE project (P50CA70907).

About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute -The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (www.vbi.vt.edu) at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses trans-disciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world's scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

Similar Topics

1 - Minimally Invasive Device to Treat Cancer and Other Illnesses - University of Texas at San Antonio.
2 - Pancreatic Cancer Treatment - New Discovery Paves Way - University of Notre Dame.
3 - Multi-Million-Dollar Research to Stop Cancer Ability to Spread - Johns Hopkins University.
4 - New Approach to Control Cancer Not Eliminate It - Oregon State University.
5 - Stopping Cancer In Its Tracks By Inhibiting Autophagy - University of Chicago Medical Center.
From our Treatments section - Full List (102 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.



1 - wheelAIR Innovative New Cooling Wheelchair Backrest Wins Support on Dragons Den
2 - DIVAS Rule the Runway at The Woodlands
3 - Ultra-thin Optical Fibers Provide Way to Print 3D Microstructures
4 - Brain Imaging Predicts Language Learning in Deaf Children
5 - Asthma Costs US Economy Over $80 Billion a Year



Citation


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.