Cancer Genomics Laboratory
RESEARCH PLATFORM FOR
THE MOON SHOTS PROGRAM
Cancer is a disease of the genome. Every person’s cancer is different and every tumor has its own unique abnormalities at the genetic level. One of the methods MD Anderson scientists use to study the genome is called genome sequencing or next-generation sequencing. By analyzing genome-sequencing data, MD Anderson scientists can determine whether a patient’s tumor carries significant changes which may make cancers vulnerable to a particular drug or therapy or may help us understand how different patients respond to treatment. Understanding the changes in genes could help us develop treatments for everyone.
The CGL platform of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™ is committed
to helping our researchers design experiments in which genomic data is
critical for addressing gaps in our understanding. The resulting
high-quality information obtained from these experiments then flows
into the Translational Research Accelerator (TRA), a big data
platform. The TRA is an MD Anderson
resource designed to integrate clinical and research data and allow
all Moon Shot™ researchers to have access to this information. This
means cancer experts can use data created for one type of cancer that
might have an impact on another type, thus bringing together many
experts all working to close the gaps in our understanding. The CGL
serves as an essential part of the pipeline that ensures data from
multiple sources are consistent and comparable.
Kenna Shaw, Ph.D.
Andrew Futreal, Ph.D.
Chair, Genomic Medicine
Jianhua “John” Zhang, Ph.D.
Institute Senior Associate Director, Bioinformatics; Institute for Applied Cancer Science
Over the last year, the CGL has reached several milestones, including data generation of more than 1,000 samples in more than 10 different cancer types. Sample tracking has become automated through the development of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Using robots for sample preparation has increased not only the number of samples that can be prepared, but also ensures quality.
Recent efforts have included generating data for researchers
studying cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV). CGL's
genetic sequencing work helped the researchers understand how the
virus inserts itself into a person’s DNA, and how that impacts the
development of cervical and head and neck cancers. A follow-up study
is examining HPV-positive and HPV-negative cell lines to further
understand cancer development and patient responsiveness to available
therapies. The tumor data also is being tapped to identify potential
biomarkers that can be used for personalized cancer therapies.