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Beyond Sequencing

Precision medicine for cancer is more than just genome sequencing, Medscape writes.

"Precision medicine is not just sequencing; it's looking at a patient in the context of their environment, the type of clinical care they're getting, their interaction with their environment, and then the genomic analyses," Mark Rubin from Weill Cornell Medical College tells Medscape.

For instance, it adds that at the European Society for Medical Oncology annual meeting, University of British Columbia's David Huntsman said that cellular context is also important to consider. He noted that BRAF mutations behave differently in different cancer types, as melanomas with a BRAFV600E mutation typically respond well to vemurafenib, while colorectal cancers with the same mutation don't. In addition, Baylor University Medical Center's Carlos Becerra tells Medscape that alterations to signaling pathways can be important in cancer, but may fall outside genomic analyses.

Maurie Markman from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America adds that precision medicine is going to be a process, and researchers and clinicians are learning more about what various mutations in individual tumors and tumor types means.

Still, it adds that Huntsman noted in his talk that this new information would have to be folded in with what's already known. "We can't abandon pathology for the understanding of where the tumor came from; in the end, precision medicine will surely be a synthesis of the old and the new," he said.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.