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Using 'Omics to Treat Breast Cancer

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Clinicians need to make use of 'omics tools in order to more efficiently treat breast cancer, said Joe Gray from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab at AMP's annual meeting. By using these tools, clinicians can identify molecular subtypes of the disease and predict resistance to therapies or response to next-gen drugs, Gray said. Doctors then need to understand gene networks in order to see how cancers develop across those networks and how different therapies affect these subtypes. In Gray's lab, researchers are using an in vitro systems approach to match drugs with the different cancer subtypes and are using lab models that show molecular diversity in primary tumors. They are growing and collecting as many breast cancer cell lines as possible, Gray said. They've already got more than 80, and are looking to collect more than 250 in the next few years. The researchers are also testing whether drugs can be combined to have a greater effect, and how drugs that are targeted to certain cancer pathways can be used in combination with other drugs on other gene mutations and pathways. It's not enough to sequence tumors and look for abnormalities to treat, Gray said. Researchers and clinicians must also assess aberration function in situ in order to more efficiently treat breast cancer.

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