DNA Profiles Could Lead to New Cancer Treatments

A new study is compiling a database of personalized cancer cell profiles.

A new collaborative study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute called “Profile” aims to compile the world’s largest database of genetic abnormalities in cancer cells in order to help future researchers understand the roots of the disease.

Researchers are collecting and profiling personalized cancer genotypes, and so far, the database is made up of more than 5,000 tumor profiles. For this study, profiles are taken from patients and sent to Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Department of Pathology where they are entered into a catalogue that’s accessible to a number of cancer researchers. If there is any useful information derived from these profiles that would help doctors treat the current patients, that information is passed on to the patients.

Dr. Barrett Rollins, chief scientific officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute said in a press release:

“Profile represents the future of cancer treatment – tailoring highly specific drugs to the particular genetic mutations and other abnormalities that drive a patient’s cancer.”

Cancer patients at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and now certain pediatric cancer patients at Boston Children’s Hospital, are offered the opportunity to participate. To date, more than 20,000 patients have agreed and that has resulted in the 5,000 different tumor profiles.

Here is a video that demonstrates how the tumor samples are processed, entered into the Profile database, and interpreted: