Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A team of researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University has developed a new technique that allows scientists to reliably track genetic errors in individual cancer cells, and find out how these might lead to uncontrollable growth.

Microscopic glioblastoma stem cells organised in tumor © Shutterstock

Despite recognising that cancer cell diversity underlies treatment resistance and recurrence of cancer, previous attempts to track errors in individual cancer cells were very inaccurate, or could only track a few cells at a time. This is the first time that researchers have been able to reliably track DNA errors, or ‘mutations’ in thousands of individual cancer cells, while also measuring how these mutations lead to disruption to how DNA is read within individual cancer cells in a tumour.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cell, describes how this new technique, TARGET-seq, can not only detect mutations within individual cancer cells from patients, but also work out the full list of gene products in individual cancer cells (the transcriptome). Tracking these genetic errors, and their consequences, is important, because despite the latest medical advances, completely getting rid of cancer cells is sometimes extremely difficult. As there are many different kinds of cancer cells in a tumour, they can all behave differently and have different kinds of resistant to treatment. Understanding the genetics of individual cancer cells in such detail will help clinicians personalise cancer treatments for each patient.

Read more (University of Oxford website)

Similar stories

PhD Student of the Year 2022 Winner!

Congratulations to Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health DPhil student Josephine Agyeman-Duah on being named winner of PhD Student of the Year at the Postgrad Awards 2022.

Ethics at Westminster: A Workshop on Public Values and the Pandemic

At an event organised by the UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator at the House of Commons on 18 May 2022, parliamentarians, policy makers and academics joined together to discuss how to bring ethical thinking and debate into public policy on pandemic recovery and preparedness, and how to involve the public.

Student Prizes for Biomedical Sciences and Medicine 2021-2022

Congratulations to all our Biomedical Sciences students and Medicine students who have been awarded prizes during the 2021-2022 academic year.

New study finds that politicians typically enjoy longer lives than general populations

New data show politicians have a considerable survival advantage over general populations, based on information from 11 countries and over 57,500 politicians. In some countries this survival advantage is at the highest level for 150 years, and life expectancy at age 45 was found to be around seven years higher for politicians compared to general populations in certain countries.

Five ways the pandemic has affected routine medical care

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID has infected at least a third of the UK population and is estimated to have factored in the deaths of almost 200,000 people in the UK. But critically, COVID has also had a devastating impact on our healthcare systems. While this was expected, new evidence is beginning to reveal the scope of the issue – in particular the effects for people living with long-term health conditions.