Single Algorithm Helps to Identify 2 Types of Genetic Changes in Ovarian Cancer Cells

Single Algorithm Helps to Identify 2 Types of Genetic Changes in Ovarian Cancer Cells
Cancer cells are known to undergo two types of changes in their DNA as they evolve, which may be associated with resistance to treatment. Although current methods can identify one type of DNA alterations or the other, none is able to identify both simultaneously. Now, researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University's Computational Biology Department have developed a new algorithm, called Weaver, that has the ability to identify both types of genetic changes associated with cancer cells at the same time, allowing connections to be identified between the two. The study, "Allele-Specific Quantification of Structural Variations in Cancer Genomes," was published in Cell Systems. "This work uses a rigorous and elegant approach to give a better picture of the genome changes that occur during the evolution of individual cancers," Robert F. Murphy, Ray & Stephanie Lane professor and head of the School of Computer Science's Computational Biology Department, said in a press release. "Having a clearer picture can help identify characteristics, such as responsiveness to drugs, that distinguish cancers and may contribute to developing more personalized treatments." Healthy cells are known to have 23 pairs of chromosomes. But this is not necessarily true for cancer cells, particularly more advanced tumors. Cancer cells can have multiple copies of the same chromosome, a phenomenon called aneuploidy, or they can undergo other types
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Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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