News from the Broad

The Broad Institute is committed to open sharing not only of its scientific data and tools, but also information and news about our progress towards achieving our mission. Below are just a few highlights from the Broad scientific community.
  • Study details mechanism for new mutational phenomenon ‘chromothripsis’

    June 2nd, 2015

    Although it has been known for some time that cancer genomes can be replete with rearrangements and mutations that accumulate over time, sequencing efforts recently identified additional types of mutations that appear to happen within a single cell cycle. One of these types, chromothripsis, causes rearrangements and DNA copy number variation restricted to only one or a few chromosomes. In the journal Nature, Broad researchers Cheng-Zhong Zhang, Joshua Francis, Matthew Meyerson, David Pellman, and colleagues describe how chromothripsis can occur, involving the formation of “micronuclei,” as an outcome of aberrant cell division. These findings uncover a potentially under-acknowledged source of genetic variation and show how chromosome segregation errors can contribute to cancer.

  • NEJM articles address state of clinical genomic testing

    June 1st, 2015

    Of the more than 80 million known genetic variants, few are well understood for their roles in human health and disease. To overcome this gap in knowledge, large consortia studies need to share data across traditional boundaries — a hard task when there are few standards in place to harmonize those data. In a special report in the New England Journal of Medicine, Broad institute member and Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP) clinical director Heidi Rehm and colleagues describe the NIH-funded ClinGen program, which aims to be an authoritative central resource for defining the clinical relevance of genomic variants for use in precision medicine and research. GenomeWeb wrote about the report, which was among a set of papers published by the journal that addressed the promises and challenges of clinical genomic testing.

  • New study leverages bacteria to detect liver cancer in mice

    May 30th, 2015

    Taking advantage of the liver’s ability to collect microbes, a team led by Sangeeta Bhatia of the Broad Institute and MIT, and Jeff Hasty of the University of California, San Diego, designed a synthetic bacterium to accumulate in – and detect – liver metastases, a pressing clinical need. The team used a safe and widely used probiotic E. coli strain to develop an orally administered diagnostic that can noninvasively indicate the presence of liver metastases by producing easily detectable signals in urine. Appearing in Science Translational Medicine, the study demonstrates the potential for programmable probiotics in diagnostic and, potentially, therapeutic cancer applications. Read coverage of the study in The Scientist and U.S. News and World Report to learn more.

  • Single-cell analysis hits its stride

    May 21st, 2015
    Advances in technology and computational analysis enable scale and affordability, paving the way for translational studies
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  • Gerstner Family Foundation commits $10 million to Broad Institute to overcome cancer drug resistance

    May 18th, 2015
    New gift from the Gerstner Family Foundation will help identify the mechanisms that drive cancer drug resistance and pave the way for new treatments
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