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Name A Gene - The Science

The Science

Postage stamp-sized chips
Postage stamp-sized chips used in equipment capable of reading the DNA sequence in cells enable Levi Garraway, MD, PhD; Anthony D'Amico, MD, PhD; Philip Kantoff, MD; and William Hahn, MD, PhD, to hunt for genetic mutations in prostate and bladder cancers.

The Gene Display is a representation of a microarray, an innovative technology that Dana-Farber researchers utilize to survey the behavior of many genes in a tumor cell at once. Acting like a tiny laboratory on a silicon rectangle the size of a postage stamp, the microarray measures the “expression” of the genes and then a scanner reads and converts the data into a vivid, colored display showing the varying levels of genetic activity. Red indicates a high level of activity and blue a low level of activity.

Using this information, scientists classify tumors by their unique gene signatures, allowing more accurate diagnoses and ultimately more individual and targeted therapies for cancer patients. This works because cancer, at its root, is a disease that involves the alteration of any of the 25,000 genes that comprise the human genome. This damage may spur aggressive growth of some genes while other genes that may have worked to prevent cancer before are unable to do so anymore.

This science will lead to a collaborative approach where researchers and physicians will work side by side to determine the best method of treatment for each individual patient. This critical synergy is embodied in the new Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, the 14-story, 275,000-square-foot, cancer care and clinical research facility that will serve as the model for future cancer care and usher in a new era of personalized cancer medicine.

By naming a gene in the Gene Display, located in the Robert J. Tomsich Family Gallery, not only are you making a lasting tribute that will be part of the fabric of Dana-Farber, you are helping us to deliver the best care for every patient while maintaining an unrelenting focus on the discovery of next generation, life-saving therapies. For more information, please contact Hillary Goodie at 617-582-8830 or at hillary_goodie@dfci.harvard.edu.


Leave your personal mark on cancer research. Name a gene today.
Name a gene

Contact: Mary Gannon
Tel: 617-582-8830
E-mail: mary_gannon@dfci.harvard.edu

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