Nevan Krogan, a professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF says he sees the launching of the Cancer Cell Map Initiative as a way to help bridge a gap in the medical field.
“What we’re trying to do is develop these maps, so different mutations can be mapped onto, and then this information would be very useful in terms of coming up with diagnostics, and prognosis, or even new therapy,” Krogan said.
The researchers are using powerful computing and imaging tools to compare healthy genes networks to the thousands of mutations seen in cancer.
Krogan says that despite a large amount of genetic data currently available to scientists, breakthroughs in cancer treatment have lagged behind.
“In the past if you had a cancer, everybody would get the same treatment. And, we’re starting to realize now based on this genomic and proteomic information that not everybody should get the same treatment,” Krogan said.
Krogan says he and his colleagues are now looking at cancer not as a disease caused by genetic mutations, but as a larger, interconnected network of genes.
So far, Krogan says they have already mapped genetic mutations in 300 ovarian cancer patients and hope that the powerful computing and imaging tools will help improve doctors’ decision making.