How is Genomics Causing a Sea of Change in Cancer Research?

The study of cancer genes has shown significant, quantifiable abnormalities within the genes themselves. Cancer-causing genetic mutations and the study thereof are at the forefront of modern medical research. What are the opportunities and roadblocks within this constantly-evolving discipline?

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Comparing Cancer Genes

One of the most unexpected yet useful outcomes of continued cancer genomic research is that cancer genes across various types of cancers have many similarities. In recent years, concerted efforts have been made to best catalog genomic research, allowing scientists in disparate fields or geographic locations to compare the results of their genomic research to other, seemingly unrelated cancer research. Thanks to the proliferation of genomics information, we now know that there is a significant amount of diversity among the genetic abnormalities found in a cancer of any single type, such as pancreatic cancer or breast cancer. Subtypes of cancer are now being studied in detail in an effort to best characterize and quantity full sets of driver mutations.

 

Cancer Genomics Opportunities

There is still a long way to go in understanding the genetic drivers of cancer. The more information culled from individual patient studies in cancer genomics, the more comparisons that can be made with other patients’ genome “fingerprints.” Over time, a full picture of the factors at work during gene mutation could lead to precision medicines designed specifically to target (and even to prevent) subtypes of cancer, on the most micro scale. Genomic information is already changing the course of cancer treatment: several drugs previously not used to treat cancer are showing great success at reducing and even eliminating some cancers in the body.

 

Challenges for Studying Cancer Genomics

One of the biggest hurdles in the general field of genomics is sample acquisition. For cancer research, the bar is even higher. High-quality biological samples are required for any genomic study, and those are difficult and in some cases prohibitively expensive to obtain. IMCS is working hard to alleviate some of the burden of sampling for cancer genomics, developing tools such as patented IMCSTips which use dispersive pipette extraction to accelerate the understanding of protein functions. Likewise, researchers in Boston recently announced development of a method for quantifying circulating tumor DNA from blood samples rather than tissue samples, a huge step forward in genome-wide sequencing.

 

IMCS is committed to furthering the science of discovery biomarkers. Our innovative technologies are designed to be reliable, consistent, and scalable; they’re already being used in hundreds of labs in the United States and across the world.

To speak with an IMCS team member about our solutions, reach out to us today at +1 (888) 560–2073.