This SU2C−DCS Translational Research Team is investigating how changes in the tumor DNA of patients can be used to predict sensitivity to specific anticancer agents. This requires detailed analysis of the alterations in large numbers of genes in tumors and then studies of patient responses to specific cancer drugs. The results will enable doctors to make far more educated choices for the treatment of individual patients, leading to greater therapeutic benefit while reducing the toxicity of drugs that are not effective.
The research team asks patients to provide biopsies before and two months after the start of their treatment regimens. DNA is isolated from these biopsies and analyzed for mutations in 2,000 potentially informative genes. Genetic changes are correlated with treatment outcomes, and DNA profiles are generated that can predict whether patients with breast or colorectal cancer will respond to specific treatments.
The researchers incorporate computational biology in their efforts to generate predictive DNA profiles. By linking the clinical data to the genetic data of the tumor and utilizing all available information on the biology of that cancer, doctors can further refine patient selection criteria for a specific treatment.