A huge aspect of cancer research that has been on the rise is genetic mapping. It can help to understand which cells are related to specific areas of cancer. This information can in turn shed light on how tumours grow and develop. Which then can help inform treatment for given patients and what the best course of action is for their cancer treatment team of doctors.
Genetic mapping can also identify how a tumour’s genes have changed over time. Scientists use a new method termed spatial transcriptomics. It enables them to analyze genetic changes in organic tissue without having to destroy it. This enables scientists to more accurately identify what cells have been mutating and where in the body. Specifically, if it’s in a given organ or area of an organ.
How does genetic mapping help with prostate cancer?
The usual techniques utilized to study tumour genetics involve taking a sample of cancerous tissue. Following that, doctors analyze the sample’s DNA. However, with conditions like prostate cancer, this is not as effective as it could be. In particular, because prostate cancer samples are three-dimensional and don’t give as accurate a reading of the organ as necessary.
Hence why new techniques like genetic mapping that can be more accurate and specific with their analysis are very beneficial for cases of prostate cancer.
Another advantage of spatial transcriptomics is that it can achieve things like cross-sectional maps of a whole organ. For instance, recently researchers used this technique to map out a whole prostate. This was able to reveal very effectively areas of the prostate that were cancerous or healthy.
Essentially, these techniques provide a much higher resolution for the analysis of any kind of tissue. Accordingly, this has great potential benefits for more accurate diagnosis and decision-making for treatment options. It can even provide such detailed analysis that makes it easier to identify whether a given cancerous tissue even needs treatment.
Mapping and the advancement of early detection
Recent research has taken place mapping out thousands of tissue samples. This massive amount of detailed data is crucial to addressing cancer and has massive potential for improving early detection of cancer. Particularly, with prostate cancer cases, which some current methods are more limited in assessing at the necessary higher resolution.
In fact, new research with these newfound techniques has revealed extremely valuable information with the capability of analyzing over 150,000 organ areas. These analyses include areas of prostates, breast cancer and skin tissue. As well as, analyses of lymph nodes and brain tissue samples.
All of this data together enables scientists to create algorithms. With said algorithms they can begin tracking specific genetic changes in certain tissues with a detailed and high-resolution view of the tissue itself all the way to a genetic level.
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