Seventy-five percent of colon cancer patients can be treated with two drugs; but Holly’s cancer, which was discovered in the colon, was part of the untreatable 25 percent. Why is that and what makes these cases different? The Clayville Foundation believes viruses play key roles.
The Clayville Foundation is providing funding for a Stanford fellow to study a variety of gastrointestinal cancer to determine if any of a number of rare viruses caused the cancer.
Stanford scientists have developed a number of new analysis technologies using genome DNA sequencing to identify genetic changes in cancer with very high accuracy compared to traditional approaches. Under the direction of Dr. Hanlee Ji of the Stanford Genome Technology Center, researchers are using Oligonucleotide-Selective Sequencing (OS-Seq) technology and a molecular engineering process to pull out specific DNA sequences from clinical samples and to determine the origin of the sequence from cancer and viral genomes. Building upon this, Stanford’s researchers are using OS-Seq technology to simultaneously scan cancer samples for the presence of viruses. This new “pan-virus” detection system will determine if viruses have introduced their sequencing into cancer genome DNA.
In the Ji Research Group’s lab, the DNA sequencing capacity is increasing ten-fold per month and generating enormous amounts of data. Clayville Foundation funds also are helping build the IT infrastructure required to mine that data.