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A turning point for the future treatment of tumours

nature journal

The Pan-Cancer project provides a turning point for further treatment of tumours. More that one thousand scientists from the entire world built to date the most detailed picture of tumours. Their studies were published last week in two articles in the Nature journal and in 4 other articles in Nature Communications and Biology Communications and report an almost complete picture of all tumours. These studies will enable individualised treatment for every patient and an earlier discovery of the tumours.

The Pan-Cancer Consortium analysed the complete genetic code for 2.658 tumours. On average, it was found that there are four to five driver mutations that are responsible for the tumour. These mutations are likely to become the point of attack of anti-tumour treatments and be personalised for each patient. A major focus in the investigations were the non-coding elements that occur in the regulatory regions of the genomes.

It was also possible to “carbon-date” the age of mutations. About 20% of them appear years or even decades prior to the tumour and thus offer a potential for very early diagnosis even before the tumour occurs.

Our employee, Visiting Professor Jan Komorowski, participates in the Pan-Cancer project and is a co-author of the six publications. The main contribution of his team is identification of significant mutations in the regulatory regions in genomes that has been achieved using advanced bioinformatics methods, including machine learning, applied to Big Data.

Rheinbay, E., Nielsen, M.M., Abascal, F. et al. Analyses of non-coding somatic drivers in 2,658 cancer whole genomes. Nature 578, 102–111 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-1965-x,
Campbell, P.J., Getz, G., Korbel, J.O. et al. Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes. Nature 578, 82–93 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-1969-6,
Carlevaro-Fita, J., Lanzós, A., Feuerbach, L. et al. Cancer LncRNA Census reveals evidence for deep functional conservation of long noncoding RNAs in tumorigenesis. Commun Biol 3, 56 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0741-7,
Reyna, M.A., Haan, D., Paczkowska, M. et al. Pathway and network analysis of more than 2500 whole cancer genomes. Nat Commun 11, 729 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14367-0,
Paczkowska, M., Barenboim, J., Sintupisut, N. et al. Integrative pathway enrichment analysis of multivariate omics data. Nat Commun 11, 735 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13983-9,
Shuai, S., Abascal, F., Amin, S.B. et al. Combined burden and functional impact tests for cancer driver discovery using DriverPower. Nat Commun 11, 734 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13929-1

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