New Oxford-developed tool reads the life histo... - CLL Support

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New Oxford-developed tool reads the life histories of cancer cells - how subclones develop

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"..a team of Oxford researchers has developed a way to track the genetic "life histories" of thousands of individual cancer cells at once, which may lead to more effective and personalized cancer treatments.

Cancer cells are basically just normal cells that have accumulated certain mutations that allow them to grow out of control. But even within one tumor, individual cancer cells can mutate in different ways over time, to the point where treatments will work on some, but not all, cancer cells in a patient. Surviving cells could then continue to grow and spread through the body."

From New Atlas:

I note that hematopoietic (blood cell line) cancers were the chosen cancers for study, but not CLL. Blood cancers have the huge advantage of being able to be readily sampled over time via a simple blood draw, compared to the much more difficult process of sampling a solid tumour. The study points out that the technique "relies on the analysis of known driver mutations or mutations previously identified by other discovery-type methods." Also, "For very genetically complex tumors where potentially hundreds of different mutations need to be tracked, a whole-genome and whole-transcriptome approach might be more appropriate." Hence CLL may prove too challenging currently for this technique. Still, it shows how cancer treatment is relentlessly moving towards personalised medicine, which can only be for the good (other than the cost!).

Nice to see that the computer code developed in this study is available in the public domain too!

The paper is one of the most gloriously illustrated I've ever seen, conveying how cancer cells differentiate into different sub-clones in colour 3D presentations.

The University of Oxford Researcher's paper published in Molecular Cell:

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Photo: Protea flowers

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Just love your picture of the Pink Mink Protea!!!

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