Tuesday, August 6, 2013

FAQ: What are 'driver genes'?

Within a tumor many genes may be mutated, but not all of these are necessary for the cancer to continue to grow. The genes that are most responsible for a cancer to remain a cancer are called driver genes. Due to their importance in cancer, driver genes are the best targets for therapy. However, until recently, identification of the driver genes for a particular tumor was not possible.

Mouse neurons labeled with fluorescent tags
by Stephen J Smith

In the recent Nature Genetics paper entitled: 'The integrated landscape of driver genomic alterations in glioblastoma' the authors describe an approach which identified 33 different driver genes that are responsible for the most prevalent and aggressive form of brain cancer. The majority of these genes are not currently targets of any available drugs. However, when drugs become available the authors envision personalized glioblastoma treatment becoming a reality. This would involve identification of which driver gene is responsible for the individuals brain cancer and then application of the appropriate treatment.

The search for inhibitors of these driver genes is possible with appropriate assay design and analysis both of which are possible with the multimode readers available from BMG LABTECH. Please visit our website (www.bmglabtech.com) to find out more about the capabilities of our microplate readers.