Studying cell lineage in tumors reveals targetable vulnerabilities

IMAGE: Paul Mischel is a member at the San Diego Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research view more 

Credit: Ludwig Cancer Research

APRIL 24, 2019, NEW YORK – To explain a person’s actions in the present, it sometimes helps to understand their past, including where they come from and how they were raised. This is also true of tumors. Delving into a tumor’s cellular lineage, a Ludwig Cancer Research study shows, can reveal weaknesses to target for customized therapies.

The findings, detailed in the April 24 issue of the journal Nature, also illustrate how knowledge of the biochemistry and microenvironment of the tissue from which a tumor arises can help predict the genetic alterations its cancer cells are likely to undergo.

“We’re trying to understand what might make a cancer vulnerable to precision oncology,” said Paul Mischel, a member at the San Diego Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, who led the study. “These findings suggest that understanding the interactions between genes and environments can lead to potentially more effective, selective and specific ways to treat cancer.”

In their study, Mischel and his colleagues, including Ludwig San Diego’s Bing Ren, postdoctoral fellow Sudhir Chowdhry and


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