LA JOLLA—For the past fifteen years, cancer researchers have been using DNA sequencing technology to identify the gene mutations that cause the different forms of cancer. Now, Salk Assistant Professor Edward Stites and his team of computational scientists have combined gene mutation information with cancer prevalence data to reveal the genetic basis of cancer in the entire population of cancer patients in the United States.
The study, published in Nature Communications on October 13, 2021, reveals how commonly each gene in the genome is mutated within the cancer patient population. The findings could help guide genetic research to develop more effective treatments than presently available.
“The paper answers a very basic question: what are the most commonly mutated genes in human cancer?” says Stites, who is also a physician as well as holder of the Hearst Foundation Developmental Chair. “Surprisingly, this question had not been answered.”
Genetic mutations play…
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