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Targeting Aggressive Cancers

July 29, 2016

Using genetic fingerprinting to diagnose and treat an aggressive cancer.



DNA fingerprinting for cancer. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Cancers are usually described by where they strike. But molecular geneticist Edison Liu, President and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, explains that cancers can also be categorized based on the genetic mutations that created them.

EDISON LIU (The Jackson Laboratory):

Molecular genomics has provided us a precision in understanding subtypes of cancers. What that does is allow us to use targeted therapeutics across disease types.


In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and his colleagues describe a method for identifying an aggressive form of cancer known as advanced triple negative, through tell-tale mutations called tandem duplications. Knowing the genetic underpinnings of this cancer type then led them to identify a chemotherapy agent to treat it. Liu says this sort of cancer genomics will lead to more targeted and successful treatments. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.