There are thousands of scientific papers dedicated to a particular type of tumor, a particular gene, a type of specific molecular lesion or the effect of a particular drug. However, there are very few examples of publications that integrate these four concepts (type of tumor, gene alteration and drug) in a significant amount of samples. An article published in Cell, in collaboration with the group of Dr. Manel Esteller, Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, provides us with this important source of information.
The researchers started from 1,000 cancer cell lines derived from 29 different cell types and different organs to simultaneously obtain their genetic alterations (mutations and copy number of genes), epigenetic alterations (DNA methylation) and expression alterations, confronting them with their different sensitivity to 265 antitumor drugs. It should also be noted that the results were validated in 11,000 additional human tumor samples obtained from surgical removals.
"The study has been led by the Sanger Institute in the UK, which are global pioneers in the genetic study of tumors. They asked us to analyze the epigenome of thousands of described samples and so we did. It was a though job, but the result was worth it: we now have a comprehensive map of genetic and epigenetic lesions of human tumors that serve to predict responses to a wide range of cancer drugs "- says Dr. Manel Esteller, co-author of the Cell paper - "moreover, all the obtained information has been released under open access licensing to be freely available to all researchers in the world. This way, if someone has a particular interest in a gene for a type of tumor or a drug he could quickly look it up, even view the relationships between them. "
This is an example of an epigenome derived from a tumor sample included in study. Green fluorescence signals indicate a loss of epigenetic signal, while red indicates a gain of epigenetic signal. Credit: IDIBELL
"Thanks to the new bioinformatic analysis that will be developed using the data we have made available for everyone, further interesting results will come up in the following years. We are very pleased to have been able to contribute to this huge catalog of genes, tumors and drugs, which would not have been possible without the selfless support of the Cellex Foundation in our case and the Wellcome Trust in the British case", concludes the researcher.
source: IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute