A cell becomes cancerous when the genetic control systems that govern its division and death are disrupted in a manner that drives its uncontrolled proliferation. As that cell multiplies, its progeny accumulate DNA mutations and dramatic alterations to their programs of gene expression, driving the resulting tumor’s complexity. Ludwig researchers explore the cancer genome from a variety of angles to understand how such genomic dysfunction initiates cancer and then drives the evolution and metastasis of tumors. Their efforts include genome-wide analyses of how variations in DNA sequences influence the risk of cancer, how DNA repair mechanisms are disrupted in malignancies and how epigenetic marks—chemical modifications to DNA and its protein scaffolding that regulate gene expression—are redistributed across cancer genomes. These studies offer a more sophisticated view of cancer cell biology and are already contributing to the development of exciting new approaches to diagnose, treat and prevent cancers.
Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Ken Kinzler gives an overview of his team’s latest work on the early detection of cancer and discusses both the opportunities and challenges of detecting cancer earlier.
Ludwig’s Bing Ren provides an overview of current large-scale efforts to uncover functional elements of the human genome using new technologies.
Ludwig Oxford’s Sebastian Nijman discusses his development of isogenic—or genetically uniform—cell lines to study how drugs interact with the variegated genetic landscape of malignant tumors, and their application to analyze drug resistance and identify surprising candidate drug targets major cancers.
Web Cavenee (a cancer geneticist), Frank Furnari (a cancer biologist) and Paul Mischel (a cancer pathologist) of Ludwig San Diego describe their joint investigation of glioblastoma over the past several years.
Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein speaks about what the past four decades of research has taught us about the mechanics of cancer, what genomics and molecular biology have taught us about it and how all of this information might best be exploited to address the challenges posed by cancer.
The comprehensive capture of all RNA species present inside a single cell has been a long-standing goal of biology.