Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Metastasis Mystery Unravelling at UC San Diego

The diagrams above are networks of proteins that are involved in the spread of breast cancer.
This image is from a new paper from a UC San Diego bioengineering professor (Trey Ideker) that provides new insights into which patients with breast cancer need chemotherapy and which patients may not need this aggressive therapy.
Technology Review has a great description of this research project, written by journalist Katherine Bourzac.
This is how the Technology Review story starts:
Using Molecular Pathways to Assess Cancer Patients

The first complete map of protein interactions in human cells could lead to
better treatment for breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have created a map of all known protein networks in human cells and shown that it can be used to better assess whether a patient's breast cancer will spread. Their work, though in its early stages, could lead to better diagnostic tests that spare patients toxic treatments, such as chemotherapy, if they are unnecessary. The researchers also expect that their approach will be widely applicable to other diseases, including other cancers and diabetes. Read more:

More info:
Read the press release from the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering.
Read the paper abstract and introduction at Molecular Systems Biology (MBS)
Check out the Ideker lab