New approach subtypes cancers by shared genetic effects
Cancer tumors almost never share the exact same genetic mutations, a fact that has confounded scientific efforts to better categorize cancer types and develop more targeted, effective treatments. In a paper published in the September 15 advanced online edition of Nature Methods, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (home of the Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center) propose a new approach called network-based stratification (NBS), which identifies cancer subtypes not by the singular mutations of individual patients, but by how those mutations affect shared genetic networks or systems.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 68 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.