CHAPEL HILL, NC - Charles M. Perou, PhD, Professor of Genetics and member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, chaired a panel at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on the topic of “Next Generation Sequencing for the Clinician.”
Over the last decade, Perou and his collaborators have defined intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer, based on genetic signatures developed using the previous generation of gene sequencing technology. The advent of next generation sequencing technologies allows physicians and scientists to quickly gather more data about the genetic makeup of tumors. As Perou noted in his remarks, it can now be easier to generate the data than analyze it.
Dr. Carey Anders explains a poster on breast cancer brain metastases to Dr. Hyman Muss. The poster was selected for presentation at the 33rd annual AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference. Other UNC authors include Dr. Matt Ewend and Dr. Lisa Carey. Dr. Carey and Dr. Chuck Perou were both selected to present general sessions – Dr. Carey on the year in review and Dr. Perou on next generation genetic sequencing – at this annual conference that draws thousands of oncologists from around the world.
The panel, which included Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, from Washington University in St. Louis and Andrew Futreal, PhD, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, United Kingdom, explored different approaches for analyzing the enormously rich data derived from next generation sequencing, that has the potential to yield truly personalized tumor typing with the promise of helping thousands of women receive treatment tailored to their individual cancer’s prognosis.
In his remarks, Perou demonstrated the issues that scientists need to consider as technology evolves and when comparing genetic data generated by different, new platforms. He particularly emphasized the gains that scientists can achieve by sharing data, as in the Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA), an effort coordinated by the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute in which Perou and his colleagues are actively participating.
All of the panelists emphasized the need for careful, thorough patient consent to having their genetic data used in scientific research, but also praised the patients who agree to allow genetic data from their tumors to be used for genetic analysis, noting that many recent treatment advances depend wholly on their generous participation.
The American Association for Cancer Research interviewed Dr. Perou at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium – watch video.