Dana Farber and 454 life sciences announce breakthrough in DNA sequencing for cancer research

ed in medical research settings to detect cancer-associated genetic mutations.

"Analysis of DNA from tumors is complicated by varying amounts of tumor cells in patient samples. Furthermore, the heterogeneous nature of many tumors makes it difficult to accurately sequence the tumor DNA, which is required in order to personalize treatment," explained senior author of the study, Matthew Meyerson, M.D. Ph.D., of Dana Farber Cancer Center and Broad Institute. "454 Sequencing may facilitate accurate molecular diagnosis of heterogeneous cancer specimens and enable patient selection for targeted cancer therapies," added Meyerson.

The technology is already being explored at other institutions. "We have validated 454 Sequencing for medical sequencing on a gene target of interest," stated Robert Strausberg, Ph.D. Deputy Director and Vice President of Human Genomic Medicine at The J. Craig Venter Institute. "The method is not only very sensitive, but it is also quantitative and provides a digital display of gene variation within tumors. We have already identified a mutation missed by our previous sequencing approach," said Strausberg.

"The publication of this paper demonstrates the versatility of our system and its ability to enable medical research that has been considered impractical until now," stated co-author Michael Egholm, Ph.D., Vice President of Molecular Biology at 454 Life Sciences. "454 Sequencing can open new research opportunities through its low cost, high throughput, and superior sensitivity. The ability to sequence entire exons in a single read is unique to 454 Sequencing among the commercially available, next generation sequencing technologies. Ultimately, we hope our system will enable personalized medicine, such as identifying the early stages of drug resistance and facilitating a change in treatment that is tailored to a patient's unique genetic response," added Egholm.


Contact: Benjamin Carmichael
Noonan/Russo Communications

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