Using Next-Generation Sequencing to Detect Epigenetic Alterations – The Impact on Clinical Oncology

Using Next Generation Sequencing to Detect Epigenetic Alterations - The Impact on Clinical Oncology

How can identical twins, with the same genetic makeup, experience different diseases? Scientists believe this is due to epigenetic marks or chemical tags that play a role in controlling the activities of genes. The study of the epigenetic landscape has already generated recent breakthroughs in the detection, treatment and prognosis of many diseases, including cancer.

These breakthroughs are due in part to large-scale mapping efforts of cancer genomes coupled with the rapidly dropping costs of high-throughput next-generation sequencing technologies. Identification of mutations and epigenetic analysis are the next frontier for finding reliable biomarkers and developing targeted therapies.

Next-generation sequencing platforms are particularly powerful for mutational and epigenetic studies due to their ability to quickly analyze the entire genome through multiple methods of sequencing, such as DNA, RNA, miRNA, whole genome, exome, targeted, ChIP-Seq, methylome and epigenome. As a result, researchers obtain comprehensive, clinically relevant data sets.

With these resulting data, computational biologists can mine both open source data sets along with data sets from clinical trials to narrow down options for prospective biomarkers. Continue reading

Novel Tissue Types for the Development of Genomic Biomarkers

Novel Tissue Types for the Development of Genomic BiomarkersImagine a simple clinical test that can not only diagnose a disease, but that can also identify the exact, personal therapeutic regime to cure it. Not only that, imagine tests that can accurately predict the potential of developing a disease and provide an individualized roadmap on how it will progress. Now imagine that all you had to do was spit in a vial, or have a few hairs plucked for the analysis. While the promise of “personalized medicine” is technologically a reality, it relies on the development of disease and progression biomarkers. Continue reading