McGill University Software Identifies Molecular Links in Tumor, Blood Transcription Profiles

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Using newly-developed software called Matched Interactions across Tissues or MixT, an international team of researchers has shown links between molecular processes in breast cancer and immune system cells in the blood that they say could result in new ways to treat and monitor breast cancer.

The results move “the community beyond the barriers of most previous molecular studies that focused exclusively on immune cells in the tumor microenvironment,” Vanessa Dumeaux, a senior researcher in the computational biology laboratory at Concordia University in Canada and the lead author on a PLOS Computational Biology paper describing MixT, said in statement. It provides “a broader picture of how our bodies and immune system respond to the challenges of the presence of a particular tumor.”

MixT uses computational and statistical methods to find and investigate links between gene expression in different body tissues. For the current study, the researchers applied the software to tumor and blood transcriptional profiles from breast cancer patients in what they claim is the first large-scale effort to study the molecular relationships between patients’ systemic immune response and primary tumors. According to the paper, their analysis showed active processes in patients’ immune responses that were relevant

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