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A genomic map to therapy-related blood cancers

Memphis, Tennessee, February 12, 2021

Two researchers in masks walk down a hallway at a distance from each other while talking.

St. Jude scientists Xiaotu Ma, PhD, Computational Biology, and Jeffery Klco, MD, PhD, Pathology, are researching problems in cellular pathways and genes so they can find preventative therapies for patients. 

Chemotherapy can lead children to develop secondary cancers that have poor prognoses. St. Jude scientists are studying the genomics of a type of treatment-related blood cancer.

“The alterations that drive these tumors are different in children than they are in adults,” said Jeffery Klco, MD, PhD, of St. Jude Pathology.

Results showed problems in cellular pathways and genes that are often altered in cancer. There was also  very high transcription factor expression in some cases.

The research used tools developed at St. Jude. SequencErr finds instrument-caused errors. CleanDeepSeq can tell the difference between mutations and sequencing errors. The scientists tracked mutations two years before a treatment-related cancer developed.

“We can detect this type of cancer early to study if preventative therapies could help patients,” said co-senior author Xiaotu Ma, PhD, of St. Jude Computational Biology.

A report on this work appeared in Nature Communications.

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