Carnegie Mellon University develops algorithm for cancer genome analysis

A group of researchers at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University has created a new algorithm that may make it easier to analyze and treat cancer genomes, according to MedCity News.

Called Weaver, the algorithm evaluates two types of cancer tumor DNA mutations: "copy number variations and aneuploidy, in which chromosomes get duplicated" and "structural rearrangements, such as DNA insertions, deletions, duplications or rearrangements," according to the report.

This is the first-ever algorithm that can analyze both types of mutations.

"In cancer, we can see that certain regions are frequently amplified. Typically, we don't know why that amplification is happening," said Jian Ma, PhD, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon, according to the report. Dr. Ma's Computational Comparative Genomics Lab is heading up the Weaver project. "By applying this method, we should at least be able to get a sense that the amplification is due to a specific type of structural variation."

Thus far, the Weaver project has used in testing numerous cancer cell lines, including samples from NIH's Cancer Genome Atlas program. Its success has been published in Cell Systems.

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