• In a first, researchers from India will study the proteins and genes of cancer tumours simultaneously.
  • The aim of the merger between the two promising sciences (proteomics and genomics) is to derive new medications as well as offer personalised cancer therapies.
  • India became the 12th country to join the International Cancer Proteogenome Consortium (ICPC) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), U.S.
  • It is a forum for collaboration among the world’s leading cancer and proteogenomic research centres. In the Indian team, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) is to study proteomics and the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, India’s premier cancer institute, is to study the genomics of three cancers, breast, head and neck, and cervix.
  • This is for the first time that proteomics and genomics of the cancer tumours will be looked at by taking the same samples.
  • The field of genomics involves studying all the possible genes in the system or the organism and also analysing their mutations.
  • Through an intricate process, DNA, which is the storehouse of genetic instructions, makes proteins.
  • Tweaking this manufacture can mean influencing the kind of protein products, and consequently, vital molecules for life.
  • This is the reason why drug makers target proteins to look at inhibitors or therapeutics.
  • Studying proteins is extremely challenging and any findings therefore become extremely relevant in terms of novel and better treatments.
  • While there are an estimated 20,000 genes, there are many more proteins.
  • Proteins are in the millions and thus complicated to study. We don’t have any accurate estimates as they further get modified.
  • According to the NCI, previous studies have shown that genomic changes are not always present at the protein level.
  • This suggests that the additional level of proteomic analysis can lead to an enhanced understanding of tumour resistance and/or toxicity to therapy and can one day offer the ability to predict treatment response by examining drug response or toxicity.
  • As a result, the ICPC teams believe that integrating genomic and proteomic data together can provide more information and insight into cancer’s development and growth.”
  • The study claims that women could skip toxic chemotherapy cycles and only take a drug that blocks the hormone oestrogen. The findings, based on gene tests carried out on tumour samples, are most likely to cause an overhaul of cancer treatment worldwide.
  • Essentially there are two methods of inquiring into tumours — genomics and proteomics. “Till now, there has been no handshake between the two. This new project is looking at an integrated approach by getting researchers in both fields together.
  • This will definitely open new targets in terms of cancer treatment.