Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Researchers apply computing power to track the spread of cancer

Researchers apply computing power to track the spread of cancer

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Princeton researchers have developed a new computational method that increases the ability to track the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another.

This migration of cells can lead to metastatic disease, which causes about 90 percent of cancer deaths from solid tumors—masses of cells that grow in organs such as the breast, prostate or colon. Understanding the drivers of metastasis could lead to new treatments aimed at blocking the process of cancer spreading through the body.

“Are there specific changes, or mutations, within these cells that allow them to migrate?” asked Ben Raphael, a professor of computer science at Princeton and the senior author of the new research. “This has been one of the big mysteries.”

In a study published in the May issue of Nature Genetics, Raphael and his colleagues presented an algorithm that can track cancer metastasis by integrating DNA sequence data with information on where cells are located in the body. They call it MACHINA, which stands for “metastatic and clonal history integrative analysis.”

“Our algorithm enables researchers to infer the past process of metastasis from DNA sequence data obtained at the present time,” said Raphael.

The technique yields a clearer picture of cancer migration histories than previous studies that relied on methods based on DNA sequences alone. Some of these studies inferred complex migration patterns that didn’t reflect current knowledge of cancer biology.

“The data sets we get these days are very complex, but complex data sets don’t always require complex explanations,” said Raphael.

By simultaneously tracing cells’ mutations and movements, MACHINA found that metastatic disease in some patients could result from fewer cellular migrations than previously thought. For example, in one breast cancer patient, a previously published analysis proposed that metastatic disease resulted from 14 separate migration events, while MACHINA suggested that a single secondary tumor in the lung seeded the remaining metastases through just five cell migrations. In addition to a breast cancer data set, Raphael and his team applied their algorithm to analyze metastasis patterns from patients with melanoma, ovarian and prostate cancers.

Several additional features helped improve MACHINA’s accuracy. The algorithm includes a model for the comigration of genetically different cells, based on experimental evidence that tumor cells can travel in clusters to new sites in the body. It also accounts for the uncertainty in DNA data that comes from sequencing mixtures of genetically distinct tumor cells and healthy cells.

This approach overcomes a number of challenges to draw meaningful conclusions from the “difficult to analyze, noisy” data that result from tumor DNA sequencing, said Andrea Sottoriva, the Chris Rokos Fellow in Evolution and Cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. “I predict this new method will be of widespread use to the genomic community and will shed new light on the most deadly phase of cancer evolution,” he said.

MACHINA’s development paves the way for a broader examination of metastasis patterns in large cohorts of cancer patients, which could reveal key mutations that cause different types of cancer to spread.

Raphael also plans to make the method more powerful by incorporating data from tumor DNA and tumor cells that circulate in the bloodstream, as well as epigenetic changes—reversible chemical modifications of DNA.

“A better algorithm is like a better microscope,” said Raphael. “When you look at nature with a magnifying glass, you may miss important details. If you look with a microscope you can see much more.”


Explore further:
Cancer metastasis: Cell polarity matters

More information:
Mohammed El-Kebir et al, Inferring parsimonious migration histories for metastatic cancers, Nature Genetics (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0106-z

Journal reference:
Nature Genetics

Provided by:
Princeton University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles