IMAGE: A diagram of the species of bacteria from an individual patient that are more likely to be found with tumor samples (blue) or normal tissue samples (yellow). The layout… view more
Credit: Anders Dohlman, Duke University
DURHAM, N.C. — Biomedical engineers at Duke University have devised an algorithm to remove contaminated microbial genetic information from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). With a clearer picture of the microbiota living in various organs in both healthy and cancerous states, researchers will now be able to find new biomarkers of disease and better understand how numerous cancers affect the human body.
In the first study using the newly decontaminated dataset, the researchers have already discovered that normal and cancerous organ tissues have a slightly different microbiota composition, that bacteria from these diseased sites can enter the bloodstream, and that this bacterial information could help diagnose cancer and predict patient outcomes.
The results appear online on December 30 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
TCGA is a landmark cancer genomics program that molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancer and matched healthy samples spanning 33 cancer types. It has produced more than 2.5 million gigabytes of “omic” data. The atlas includes which
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