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Researchers Discover New Approach to Improve Personalized Cancer Treatments

By University of Minnesota News

October 17, 2013

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota, University of Toronto, and Mayo Clinic say they have successfully demonstrated that a new method for targeting mutated cells could lead to a major breakthrough in a personalized medicine approach to treat cancer.

"When we discover these interactions in human cells, it can hold the key to effective, targeted cancer treatments," says University of Minnesota professor Chad Myers. "Specifically, drugs could be used to target the synthetic lethal interaction partners of cancer-associated genetic mutations."

The researchers used previous studies on yeast genes to find synthetic lethality, and then found human genes that were similar in structure and evolutionary origin to the yeast cells.

"Given our expertise with the yeast interactions, we developed a strategy for narrowing down the large list of interactions to test, based on sequence similarity between the genes and public databases of genes commonly mutated in cancer as well as other features," Myers says.

Mayo Clinic researcher Dennis Wigle says the technology could be an important means to fully leverage information from sequencing projects for clinical application.

From University of Minnesota News
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