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Proteogenomics Research: On the Frontier of Precision Medicine

March 4, 2020


Proteogenomics Reasearch: On the Frontier of Precision Medicine The fields that we currently consider next
generation molecular medicine, including Genomics, Proteomics, miRNAomics, Microbiomics, and
Epigenomics all share the same foundation. This foundation rests in “omics”, which is
an informal term used to describe the comprehensive study of the biological components of a cell
at the molecular level. Take Genomics, for example. Genomics is the comprehensive study of the
complete set of genes, or DNA, in an organism, which we refer to as the genome. Analyzing the genome of a patient’s cancer
can reveal information about how to best detect, diagnose, and treat the patient. For example, a patient’s cancer may have a
DNA mutation that makes it especially sensitive to a drug. Although studying a patient’s DNA can provide
a lot of information, it doesn’t give us the whole picture. The reason is that, in addition to DNA, there
are many other molecules that contribute to cancer biology, such as proteins. Proteomics is the comprehensive study of the
complete set of proteins in an organism which we refer to as the proteome. Proteins are built from DNA. You might say that DNA is the blueprint for
life, and proteins are the tools that make living systems work. They play a major role in the daily functions
of both healthy cells and cancer cells. Analyzing a patient’s cancer proteome can
also provide information about how to best diagnose and treat the patient. This is because proteins carry out almost
all of the functions within our cells. If a protein is altered a cell could begin
to multiply uncontrollably, potentially leading to cancer. This is why almost every clinical cancer treatment
targets a protein. Understanding how proteins influence cancer
biology is critical to developing better diagnosis and treatment strategies, as they can add
clarity to how a patient will respond to a particular treatment. In the past researchers often studied patients’
cancer genomes or proteomes separately. But in 2016, three research teams combined
the comprehensive analysis of patients’ cancer genomes and proteomes. This integrated approach of Proteomics and
Genomics is called Proteogenomics. These studies showed that, separately, genomics
and proteomics provide a partial picture of cancer biology, but studying them together
produced a more complete unified picture. Researchers are hopeful that proteogenomics
may improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer at the molecular level. Proteogenomics Research: On the Frontier of Precision Medicine

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