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Big data analysis pinpoints cancer’s key vulnerabilities

2021
Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, USA
A new analysis of almost 10,000 patients found that regardless of cancer´s origin, tumors could be stratified in only 112 subtypes and that within each subtype, the master regulatory proteins that control cancer's transcriptional state were virtually identical, independent of the specific genetic mutations of each patient. The analysis of thousands of tumors from all types of cancer also found that the key genetic programs necessary for the survival of cancer cells are mechanistically controlled by only 24 master regulatory modules, called MR blocks, each one comprising only a handful of such proteins working together. Rather than looking for drugs targeting mutated genes associated with increasingly smaller patient subsets, as has been done in the past, these findings suggest that a much larger fraction of patients may respond to novel drug classes designed to target master regulatory proteins. In the future, it may be possible to disassemble each patient's cancer into its specific MR blocks and treat it with drugs designed to target those blocks, either individually or in combination.
A modular master regulator landscape controls cancer transcriptional identity
Mariano J. Alvarez, Andrea Califano, Cory Abate-Shen
#472
Added on: 02-01-2021
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