Support from the Strategic Priority Fund Award will allow Dr. Peter Lansdorp, distinguished scientist, BC Cancer Research Centre, and his colleague Dr. Intan Schrader, co-director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Hereditary Cancer Program, to embark on their project, Identifying structural variation and haplotypes in single cancer cells
The human genome, representing the entire DNA sequence of a human, is a map that researchers and healthcare providers use to identify and highlight important regions, such as those that cause cancer. This map has revolutionized research, with new landmarks being identified that broaden the understanding of biology and disease. The current map represents an ‘average person’, but what is an average person? All humans are different, and so we each have our own unique map. Furthermore, cancer cells often reshuffle, remove or add to their genomes, making the map in these cells very different from the map of normal cells from the same person.
Dr. Lansdorp and team have developed technology that rapidly characterizes changes to these maps in individual cells and finds changes that are inherited together in a particular pattern (called a haplotype). The project proposes to study the changes to the genome and haplotype of cancers, with the goal to find causes that are difficult to identify using conventional techniques.
This work will be done in close collaboration with the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing in the Groningen, the Netherlands.
“This award allows Dr. Schrader and myself to explore structural variations in the genome as a source of familial cancer predisposition using our unique single cell sequencing approach.”