NIHJustin Williams
University of Illinois Chicago

Causes of Cancer Likely Found in ‘Junk’ DNA, Study Says

Even as whole-genome sequencing has become much cheaper, genetic research has continued to focus on the exome, or the tiny fraction of human DNA that codes the proteins that make up our physical structures. But according to a recent study published in Science, the sources of cancer most often lie in the rest of the genome, once referred to as junk DNA. Cancer is, in other words, a very important needle in a very large haystack. The study also helpfully provides a roadmap to the spots in the genetic haystack that are most likely to give rise to cancer.

Doctors Faced With Rare or Difficult Cancers Can Just ‘Google’ Genetic Treatments

Sequencing cancer genes has become easy and cheap, but information on which drugs might or might not work on particular mutations remains buried in PDF files and in a range of medical journals. So twin researchers Malachi and Obi Griffith, of Washington University in St. Louis, recently launched a drug-gene interaction database that makes the emerging research about as easy to find as a plane reservation on Kayak.com.