Researcher: Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD Location: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute State: Massachusetts Year: 2009 Status: Finished
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To identify mutated genes that cause carcinoid cancer by sequencing ileal carcinoid tumors.
“Taking a closer look at these tumors allows us to learn critical information about the genetic landscape of this disease. Our study could achieve a real impact on the care of carcinoid patients.” – Dr. Matthew Meyerson.
CFCF will initiate a large-scale genomic survey of carcinoid tumors led by Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center for CancerGenome Discovery at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The goal of this study is to find novel targets for carcinoid treatment and to facilitate the development of new targeted therapies and better diagnostics for patients. This is the first genomic study of this magnitude for carcinoid tumors.
To discover candidate oncogenes in carcinoid
To determine which candidate genes have oncogenic activity.
Long-term objectives: To identify novel targets for carcinoid treatment and to facilitate the development of new targeted therapies
DNA alterations in key genes cause cancer. This fact is more than academic, because targeted therapies that block the action of these altered genes can treat cancer. The first goal of this project is to identify which genes are altered in carcinoid, by studying carcinoid DNA with the most powerful new methods available, and comparing these genes sequences to genes from normal tissue. The second goal is to decipher which of these genes can promote tumor growth. The long-term goal is to find new drugs that block the effects of carcinoid-causing genes and thereby kill carcinoid cells.
Research Progress and Results:
Dr. Meyerson and his team determined the genetic landscape of small intestine neuroendocrine tumors utilizing exome and whole genome sequencing. In particular, Meyerson’s analysis revealed somatic mutations in the CDKN1B gene among patients with small intestine neuroendocrine tumors and identified CDKN1B as a probable tumor suppressor suggesting that the mutation could lead to unregulated cell growth.
This discovery could lead to new treatment strategies, including inhibitory therapies already being developed. Meyerson also found that carcinoid tumors have a very low mutation rate, which is similar to findings in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.