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UK Groups Collaborate on Genomic Research into Bone Cancer

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of UK researchers will use funding from the Skeletal Action Cancer Trust to conduct studies into the genomics of osteosarcoma.

The collaborative effort includes researchers from University College London Hospital, UCL Cancer Institute, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. They intend to sequence the complete genomes of 50 patients with osteosarcoma and look in the plasma of these patients before and after chemotherapy to find rearrangements in the small amounts of DNA that leak out from the bone cancer into the bloodstream.

By determining the unique profile of mutations of each patient's cancer and using these mutations to monitor the amount of cancer derived DNA circulating in the blood, they hope to develop personalized treatments.

In addition, the researchers will sequence 100 osteosarcoma samples, looking for novel genes that give rise to the disease.

"The future of cancer genetics lies ultimately in drawing a complete picture of each and every mutation for each and every cancer patient who visits a hospital," Mike Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and one of the project leaders, said in a statement. "By concentrating in this study on the so called 'active' areas in the genome we can begin to pick out mutations that might be driving cancer even as we embark on the journey towards comprehensive catalogues of mutations for this, and a whole range of other human cancers."