NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Baylor College of Medicine scientists plan to use two new Department of Defense grants to study genomic changes involved in breast cancer tumor formation and therapeutic targets based on those alterations.
The roughly $780,000 in total funding to two researchers at BCM's Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, Assistant Professor Xiaosong Wang and Associate Professor Rachel Schiff, was awarded under DoD's Breast Cancer Research Program.
"Using computational technology, we will zoom into the genome to identify the key changes that control the cancer cells," Wang said.
The researchers will use publicly available datasets and a novel bioinformatics tool Wang developed to analyze the data from a human tumor genome sequence and to identify the operations of those genetic changes.
"The new technology can substantially improve and advance the interpretation of these data, incorporating significant new data sets immediately reanalyzing and updating," said Schiff.
Some of the genetic changes the researchers identify will make "attractive drug targets," Wang said, explaining that some of these targets may already have been developed for other diseases and could be repurposed for breast cancer studies, while others may lead to new drugs.
Schiff also said that "down the road, these new targets could be translated into diagnostic assays as well" that could be developed at BCM.