| Apr 02, 2019 |  Christie Rizk | ATLANTA (GenomeWeb) |

Combining DNA and RNA sequencing data has proven to be beneficial for researchers seeking to understand more about the biology of adult cancers. Just as the advent of genomics testing helped to make cancer care more personalized for adults, the addition of transcriptomics testing and deep bioinformatics analysis to genomics may generate even more detailed information that clinicians may use to potentially determine diagnosis, prognosis, or make treatment decisions.

Similarly, this paradigm may be coming into play in pediatric cancer care. Pediatric cancers are often problematic for researchers looking for targetable somatic mutations as they’re lacking in druggable DNA targets. In this context, transcriptomics analysis can help to fill in the gaps.

Researchers with the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative are particularly focused on using RNA sequencing data to analyze entire genetic pathways, with the hypothesis that because cancer drugs are aimed at these specific pathways, they could be effective in treating pediatric cancers, even if they don’t have somatic mutations.

Even more specifically, researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz — which is part of the Treehouse Initiative — have developed what they’re calling gene expression outlier analysis to see if they can identify overexpressed genes that can then be targeted with available cancer treatments. They’re also aiming to determine if this kind of RNA-based analysis can bolster efforts to match patients to drugs as opposed to using tumor mutation analysis only. 

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