A Mayo research team recently scored a first that garnered some valuable information regarding biomarkers for T-cell lymphoma, a fatal condition that has a 60 to 70 percent mortality rate. The up side is that this discovery may lead to therapeutic targets for future study, once the findings published in the journal Blood are validated. The authors say it is the “first recurrent translocation reported in ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCLs).”
The team used massively-parallel Next Generation Sequencing and DNA library mining along with a novel algorithm that helped identify inconsistencies in the genetic code of patients, ie translocations, where for some reason – perhaps misfolding – genes end up in the wrong places. The finding is not only important for T-cell lymphoma, but for other cancers as well because the methodology and algorithm have broad application. The team is now studying the findings in the laboratory to find improved therapies.
Another interesting aspect is the speed with which this came about — less than a year and at a cost for the initial translocation of only $1500 (not including infrastructure). Plus, it was essentially done in house – from conception to publication – the key skill set, labs and especially, the high speed technology, were all available at Mayo, says George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., who did most of the number crunching. He and Andrew Feldman, M.D., who presented and described the clinical problem co-authored the study, along with Ahmet Dogan, M.D., Ph.D., David I. Smith, Ph.D., Mark Law, Stephen Ansell, M.D., Sarah Johnson, Julie Porcher, Nazan Ozsan, and Eric Wieben, Ph.D and Bruce Eckloff, who designed the study.
Dr. Vasmatzis also credits Drs. Frank Prendergast and Robert Rizza for ensuring the technology existed at Mayo. The study was supported in part by Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine through a Waterman Biomarker Discovery grant; by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation; and by the National Cancer Institute.