NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Mayo Clinic has launched a project that will use genome and tumor sequencing and mouse models to help develop and tailor breast cancer treatment and to discover why some tumors do not respond to therapy, Mayo said today.
Researchers in the Breast Cancer Genome Guided Therapy Study, or the Beauty Project, will sequence the genomes of breast cancer patients before they are treated and the genomes from their cancer tumors both before and after treatment.
Each of these patients also will be assigned a mouse "avatar" that will be implanted with the patients' tumor cells, which will then be kept alive, enabling the researchers to study tailored treatments targeted directly at the individual patient.
Funded by the benefactors of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, the Beauty Project will partner genomics and cancer researchers with oncologists, surgeons, and radiologists.
In the first phase of the project, researchers will focus on studies of 200 participants to search for the common mutations that allow some tumors to adapt and survive during chemotherapy and can aid doctors in developing treatments.
The researchers will sequence human and tumor samples from women who have been diagnosed with high-risk cancers and who are scheduled to receive standard pre-surgical chemotherapy and then will sequence tumor cells that were collected during surgery to find out how they have responded to the chemotherapy. Tumor tissues from both collections will be kept alive in the avatar mice.
"What is so exciting about this study is that it has the potential to really bring individualized medicine to our patients," Mayo's Matthew Goetz, an oncologist and co-leader on the study, said in a statement. "It will transform how we conduct breast cancer research and how drug therapies are delivered to women with breast cancer."
"We are living in an era that I never thought I'd see during my career — when we can sequence, in real time, the entire genome of a patient and her tumor and use that information to tailor treatment to the individual patient," added Richard Weinshilboum, director of the Pharmacogenomics Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.