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GENETIC TOPOGRAPHY OF CHILDHOOD CANCER
Here we make genetic and functional maps of cancer cell evolution in patients by analyzing multiple tumour samples from the same patient. In particular we aim to:
- Make phylogenetic maps of cancer cell variation over anatomic space and treatment time in order to understand the conditions leading to treatment resistance
- Assess the functional effect on the RNA and protein levels of genetic variation in tumours
- Analyze to what extent clinical biomarkers exhibit variability within a tumour lineage – a potentially important source of error in current clinical decision making
- Evaluate the potential of using parameters of genetic variation as biomarkers for response to treatment
To learn more, read our latest research plan and a recent publication on the topic.
MECHANISMS OF GENOMIC INSTABILITY IN CANCER
We currently focus on mechanisms underlying the formation of chromosome aberrations in childhood cancer cells, in particular mitotic segregation errors in neuroblastoma and Wilms tumour. To this purpose, we use a variety of imaging techniques in combination with computerized modeling of cancer cell division over several generations.
(Published in PNAS, November 8, 2010, in relation to article ”Generation of trisomies in cancer cells by multipolar mitosis and incomplete cytokinesis".)
Film from holographic microscopy, which shows a cancer cell that divides in three directions, but where the top two daughter cells then merge into a single cell that divides again at the film's end. The filmed sequence shows cancer cells in culture for about five days.
Film with fluorescence-based microscopy, where the chromosomes are labeled with the green color. We also see how a cell divides in three directions, but the result is only two daughter cells containing different amounts of DNA. The film shows cells that are manipulated to multiply like cancer cells and follow the course in just over a day.