Mapping out New treatment Avenues Cancer researchers have applied a comprehensive set of analytical tools to lethal cases of advanced prostate cancer, yielding a detailed map of the complex networks of interactions among genes and proteins that enable prostate cancer cells to proliferate and evade treatment. The team also developed a computational approach for analyzing patient-specific data to help doctors choose the most effective drugs for individual patients. The study, published August 4, 2016 in Cell (doi:http://dx.doi.org/10. 1016/j.cell.2016.07.007), was a collaborative effort involving teams at Uc Santa cruz and UcLA, including Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey researcher Justin Drake, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson medical School, who was a postdoctoral investigator in the Witte Laboratory at UcLA at the time the work was conducted. investigators began with clinical tissue samples obtained at autopsy from patients with metastatic prostate cancer, then performed a range of sophisticated analyses to characterize the cancer cells from each patient in unprecedented detail. A novel computational analysis of the resulting datasets produced personalized diagrams of signaling pathways in the cancer tissues of each patient. These pathways are involved in cell growth, proliferation, and other hallmarks of cancer biology. By mapping these pathways, researchers were able to identify “master switches” that could be targeted with drugs to disrupt the disease. I Grants from the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (W81XWH-14-1-0148) and Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award to Dr. Drake helped support this work. The research also was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and Stand Up to Cancer. (Text courtesy of UC Santa Cruz). Autumn 2016 I Clinical Trials Corner: total Cancer Care® Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, through its membership in the Oncology Research information exchange Network ® (ORieN), is taking part in a unique non-treatment study called the Total cancer care ® Protocol designed to create a centralized database of clinical and molecular data that can be utilized to find better ways to treat cancer. more than 150,000 patients from several collaborating centers across the nation have consented to have their health information included in this database. The aim is to use this data for future research, which could include DNA and genetic testing to determine if there are particular combinations of genes that are associated with the presence of cancer. By combining genetic information with health information, researchers say it may be possible to identify the genetic changes that are associated with a particular type of cancer. Part of this effort includes the ORieN Avatar™ Research Program, which is a “first-of-its-kind collaboration that brings together patients, physicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies to speed clinical development and discovery of treatments for advanced-stage cancers.” Through the Avatar component, some of the de-identified data from the Total cancer care® database will undergo genomic sequencing in an effort to provide specific genetic information about cancer tumors. “By collecting and further examining this valuable data, investigators may be able to pinpoint genetic mutations and better understand what is driving a particular cancer. Armed with this knowledge, there’s an opportunity to develop targeted treatments that can be examined in human clinical trials,” notes Lorna Rodriguez, MD, PhD, director of precision medicine, interim chief of gynecologic oncology and principal investigator of ORieN at Rutgers cancer institute and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson medical School. I To learn more about clinical trials offered at Rutgers Cancer Institute, visit cinj.org/clinical-trials. Cancer Connection I 7