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This Week in Cancer Discovery: Aug 18, 2011


Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London report in Cancer Discovery that functional genetic profiling of breast cancer allows the cancer to be classified into subgroups that are different from established subtypes. Using an siRNA library targeting human protein kinases in breast tumor cell lines, the researchers confirm that ERBB2 and PIK3CA are candidate targets for breast cancer therapeutics. "We describe how functional viability profiles of breast tumor cell lines may be used to identify novel candidate therapeutic targets, as well as increasing our understanding of the fundamental dependencies that breast tumor cells carry," the researchers write. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to comprehensively identify genetic dependencies for a set of potentially druggable genes in breast cancer cell lines.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's William Kaelin and his colleagues found that HIF1α is the target of chromosome 14q deletion in kidney cancer. "Wild-type HIF1α suppresses renal carcinoma growth, but the products of these altered loci do not. Conversely, downregulation of HIF1α in HIF1α-proficient lines promotes tumor growth," the authors write. They add that HIF1α appears to be a kidney cancer suppressor gene.

Massachusetts General Hospital's Jeffrey Engelman and his team report in Cancer Discovery on how cancer cell lines driven by the same oncogenes respond to selective kinase inhibitors. The group reports that there was a range of cell death due to the kinase inhibitor and that "pre-treatment RNA levels of the BH3-only pro-apoptotic BIM strongly predicted the capacity of EGFR, HER2, and PI3K inhibitors to induce apoptosis in EGFR mutant, HER2 amplified, and PIK3CA mutant cancers, respectively, but BIM levels did not predict responsiveness to standard chemotherapies," it adds.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.