Algorithm aids in cancer research
A computer algorithm developed by Brown computer scientists is helping to unlock the genetic drivers behind a variety of cancers. Research reported in the journal Nature identified a suite of mutations common in 12 types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, uterus, lung, colon, brain, and kidney. The research was aided by an algorithm called Dendrix, developed by Ben Raphael, Fabio Vandin, and graduate students in Brown’s Department of Computer Science. Dendrix sifts through genomic data and identifies gene networks that, when disrupted by mutation, appear to contribute to the development of cancer. Dendrix is one of two algorithms developed at Brown that have been used widely in work of The Cancer Genome Atlas project. Earlier this year, the algorithms were used assemble a genetic profile of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive form of blood cancer.