Funded by the Dick Vitale Gala in memory of Chad Carr
Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death of children past infancy in North America. All cancers contain mutations in their DNA, but the causes of these mutations are usually not known. This gap in our knowledge negatively impacts patient care: It is difficult to predict how a tumor will change – how it will respond and whether it will come back – if one does not understand why or how it developed in the first place. Recently, our lab and others have shown that some childhood cancers contain a fingerprint which can be used to pinpoint what caused its mutations and when they developed. The identification of these fingerprints, or mutational signatures, is a rapidly evolving area of research that has benefited from new technologies, such as whole genome sequencing. This project will identify mutational signatures in aggressive childhood cancers. We will seek to understand whether cancer- causing mutations have common fingerprints, and if these can be used to select patients that would benefit from ongoing clinical trials.