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A new platform for fast functional characterization of potentially cancerous mutations

Posted by Michael G. Lemieux on May 7, 2019 8:39:32 AM

Thousands of mutations have been implicated in cancer. Yet, the majority of them remain uncharacterized. This represents a considerable barrier to furthering research and developing effective treatments for the disease. Recently, Kenneth Scott’s lab at Baylor College of Medicine and Gordon Mills’s lab at the MD Anderson Cancer Center tackled this problem by developing a moderate throughput functional genomic platform to annotate genetic perturbations that may play significant roles in cancer pathogenesis.

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Topics: Cancer

The Breast Cancer Microenvironment: A Tumor’s Backstage Team

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jan 31, 2019 8:32:02 AM

This post was contributed by Bárbara Pinho, a science communicator at the Portuguese science museum "Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva" in Aveiro, Portugal.

If cancer was a musician, then metastasize is touring. But you know what a touring musician needs? A backstage team. Meet the microenvironment, a tumor’s backstage team.

Microenvironments are cellular regions with specialized structures. Tumors are surrounded by microenvironments and what encircles a disease is highly prone to affect it. While tumors may be the stars, there's plenty of action outside of tumor cells, and recent studies (Martins et al., 2018 and Xing et al., 2010) revealed precisely that for breast cancer.

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Topics: Cancer

In Memoriam - The Origins of pBABE and Generations of Cancer Research

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 29, 2017 12:44:40 PM

This post was contributed by guest blogger, Jay P. Morgenstern,  Ph.D., Director, Genetic Engineering & Molecular Biology at Warp Drive Bio. The post is in memoriam of his late father and pBABE’s namesake, Harold (Babe) Morgenstern.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Cancer

Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity - Harnessing the Body’s Defenses to Fight Cancer

Posted by Susanna Bachle on Jul 6, 2017 9:59:43 AM

Research tackling questions in the fields of Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity, as well as various combinations thereof (so called “Immuno-Oncology”) is exploding. Researchers are increasingly able to harness the body’s immune system to fight progressing cancers. It was inspiring to participate in the 2017 Cell Symposium on Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity and learn more about “... recent findings in basic immunology, cancer-immune cell interactions, cancer immunotherapy, as well as new approaches to reprogramming tumor-associated inflammation for therapeutic benefit ”as stated by the organizers.

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Topics: Cancer

Enabling Precision Functional Genomics with the Target Accelerator Plasmid Collection

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 11, 2017 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed  by Jesse S. Boehm, the Associate Director of the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

The notion of cancer precision medicine seems so simple! Take a patient’s tumor sample, use cutting edge genomic technologies to map the mutations that are present, and use prior knowledge (data connecting each genotype with vulnerabilities) to design a therapeutic strategy that works.

But, those darn cancers have revealed many tricks up their sleeves and most patients still don’t benefit from this approach. One central bottleneck is that most recurrently mutated cancer genes are rare and most of the individual variants found in tumors are exceedingly rare. As a result, how most of these “variants of unknown significance” (sometimes called “VUS”) function is unknown. How can we make a decision for each patient if the majority of information on each cancer clinical sequencing report includes rare variants that haven’t been characterized?

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Topics: Cancer

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