The analysis of the proteome, that is, of all the proteins present in a type of tissue can provide vital information on the causes of tumors and how they can best be treated. He talks about it Janne Lehtiö, professor at the Department of Oncology-Pathology of the Karolinska Institutet, proteome-based medicine and what can contribute to personalized cancer therapy.
The results of the study have been published in the scientific journal Nature Cancer.
Proteome: study it to have personalized therapies
The proteome is a snapshot of all the proteins that exist in a particular cell or tissue. Proteome-based medicine is about measuring them and using information to learn about a disease and, for example, guiding the choice of treatment, explained Janne Lehtiö, professor at the Oncological Pathology Department of the Karolinska Institutet.
The difference with genome-based medicine is that it consists of using information about the genome, the DNA in a cell, for the purpose of diagnosing or choosing a therapy. But it is the proteins that perform the functions in the cells and the proteins that are the targets of almost all drugs. This is why we need information on proteins to understand the mechanisms behind health and disease.
Many complex diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, are caused by not one but multiple changes in the genome. For this reason, it is difficult to understand how they collectively cause disease. But at the protein level, the effect of multiple genomic changes is more evident, which gives us the opportunity to understand how to best treat the disease.
Working with proteogenomics, the combination of information from both the genome and the proteome can be predicted. For example, it can answer questions about how a mutation affects all the proteins in the cell or the activity of target proteins of multiple drugs.
Over the past five years, techniques have been developed to measure large numbers of proteins simultaneously, so that we can now measure the proteome in clinical samples. We know the proteome provides interesting information, and we’re starting to see some interesting articles showing just that for different forms of cancer, among other diseases.
To date, research has mainly focused on analyzing the tumor material already collected. We now need to begin analyzing patient samples at the time of treatment decision to analyze how information can influence clinical decision making in relation to other data used for it.
This may mean choosing the best therapy for the patient and avoiding suspected ineffective treatments by using what we know about this patient’s proteome. It is to be hoped that proteome-based medicine and proteogenomics will also be crucial if we are to learn how to best combine anticancer drugs into an effective cocktail.
By looking at the proteome to better understand cancer cells, it has been found that we can use the proteome to divide tumors into new subgroups, which differ from each other in an interesting way.
Cancers use a number of mechanisms to hide from the immune system, and these mechanisms differ from group to group. This is valuable information as it determines whether or not the patient will be helped by certain immunotherapies, which are important modern anticancer drugs.
The next step will be to do proteome analysis for patients with lung cancer admitted to Karolinska University Hospital. Our work will be part of the lung cancer pilot study that will be initiated under the Karolinska Institutet precision task force for medicine.
To begin with, proteome data will be collected in parallel with other types of data during the study. The patient’s response will be monitored to the treatments they receive and whether this response could have been predicted more accurately from the results of the proteome research.
This could be followed by a study in which the patient’s tg protein data decides which treatments are given to see that this provides better response results than current means of choosing a therapy.
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