Genomic instability and cancer

Published on February 29, 2024   42 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Molecular Basis of Cancer

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Hello. Welcome to this introductory lecture on Genomic Instability and Cancer. My name is Zhiyuan Shen, I'm a professor at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I'm also the Associate Director for Basic Research at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Today, I'm excited to introduce the topic of genomic instability and cancer.
I hope to cover four topics. I will go over the general features and the key mechanisms that help to maintain the genomic integrity, then briefly talk about the concept of synthetic lethality and to exploit DNA repair mechanisms for the treatment of cancer.
First of all, why do we need to talk about genomic instability in cancer? It turns out and not surprisingly, that cancers often have accumulated multiple genomic alterations in the genomes. As shown in this table published about 10 years ago, one can already observe multiple mutations in different cancer types simply by examining X and sequences of the coding genes. When talking about genomic alterations on mutations, we should keep in mind that some mutations are drivers that can directly lead to the cancer growth and survival advantages. But perhaps more are just passenger mutations that might not directly contribute to the growth advantage, but they can reveal the genomic basis of cancer evolution and cancer vulnerability to selective therapy.