Mapping Cancer Markers

Towards Precision Medicine

Cancer development is a multi-step process that leads to uncontrolled tumour cell growth caused by and resulting in complex changes: many genes are amplified, deleted, mutated, up- or down-regulated; many proteins and pathways are activated or suppressed. Estimating across 1.9 million patients from 31 countries and 5 continents, current treatments achieve a 5-year survival rate for less than 50% of diagnosed cancer (Coleman et al. Cancer survival in five continents: a worldwide population-based study (CONCORD). Lancet Oncol 9(8): 730-756, 2008).

Years of research improved survival in breast and prostate cancers by finding molecular markers for early diagnosis and by individualized treatment. However, pancreatic cancer remains almost 100% lethal, and the overall survival rate for lung cancer has improved barely during the past decades, having only moved from 13% to 16%.

The Mapping Cancer Markers (MCM) project aims to comprehensively and systematically discover clinically useful markers to aid early cancer detection, identification of high-risk patients, and prediction of treatment response.

To power this research, we rely on World Community Grid volunteers who donate their computers' spare capacity to carry out this extensive analysis. Finding all clinically useful markers would require processing thousands of patient samples and testing an astronomical number of marker combinations, which is not feasible even on World Community Grid. Instead, we use heuristics to reduce the search space, enabling us to tackle this challenge with the computing resources donated by volunteers like you.

Support our research and join World Community Grid today!

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