The research team School of Medicine, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, the study developed a new tool for the analysis of cancer genetics, changes leading to the loss of copies of genes or their excessive number. This change is known as somatic changes in the number of copies, can be the impetus for the development of the disease and at the same time offer new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of ovarian cancer and other malignancies.
When people think of cancer genetics, they mean single mutations that contribute to the development of tumors, such as breast cancer genes - says Dr. Joe R. Delaney, researcher and author of the article published in the February 15 Nature Communications . - These changes are referred to as drivers of tumor, but it is not the only deviation affecting the growth of the cancer. We explored other reasons.
More than 90 percent of genetic changes in the cells of cancer associated with the loss or the acquisition of a single copy gene, rather than mutation. Tumor cell may have one copy or three instead of the usual two. This area has not been sufficiently studied, as early experience researchers say that the loss of one copy of the gene can lead to the appearance of symptoms of the disease, because the second instance replaces it.
Delaney and other scientists have wondered what models can be in various cancers. The team developed a computational HAPTRIG tool for studying gene loss and acquisition mechanism.
Such changes affect ovarian cancer (60 percent of the genes). When the team analyzed tumor using HAPTRIG, it has identified autophagy - a natural process of cell death, which helps maintain normal health; Ovarian cancer cells use autophagy constantly.
The researchers then used a combination of drugs, approved by the Office on the US Food and Drug Administration, for the impact on autophagy and found that ovarian cancer cells are very sensitive to these drugs in several mouse models, including those that are resistant to standard chemotherapy. Combination preparations were less toxic than standard chemotherapy, and was relatively low.
In further work, say the authors, this discovery will lead to new approaches to treating diseases that are resistant to chemotherapy. Research suggests that the study of genetic changes should not be limited to mutations, - says one of the scientists. - HAPTRIG may identify additional ways to treat various types of cancer. We provide a free web-based tool that allows people to perform analysis on 21 HAPTRIG type of cancer.