We organized the first Seattle Genetic Instability and Cancer Symposium (SGICS) three years ago as a means to bring together local (Seattle-based) scientific talent focused on, as the title implies, genetic instability and cancer. The objective was to learn about local (unpublished) research and meet the researchers in an effort to increase dialog and collaboration. This year, marking the 3rd year of SGICS, will feature 14 short talks and 22 poster presentations selected from submitted abstracts. The talks and posters will focus on the following areas of research: Genetic Engineering & Cancer Biology, Chromosome Metabolism, DNA Damage Response, Genetic Instability & DNA Repair Disorders.
Dr. Aziz Sancar, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is this year’s Keynote Speaker. Dr. Sancar will be talking about his extraordinary work on ‘Genome-wide analysis of human global and trancription-coupled excision repair of UV damage at single-nucleotide resolution.’
The Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle held a conference this week that focused on systems biology and cancer. Experts from all over the country were brought together to share their work on how biological and clinical data derived from a single patient or big data derived from thousands of patients can be analyzed, integrated and, ultimately, used to treat that patient or others like him or her. The technological developments of the past decade and half allow us to generate large amounts of data from any given individual. These data include the individual’s genetic sequence, the levels of different genes being expressed in their cells, and other clinically relevant information. A big challenge for physicians is how to bring the benefits from these technological advances into the clinic to benefit patients.
During the conference, Dr. Tony Blau, a physician scientist from the University of Washington, described how having access to large amounts of data has changed what ‘doing the best we can’ for a patient means since he first started treating cancer. He urged that it is time to bridge the enormous the gap between the rate of growth of current technological advancements and the rate at which these advancements are making it to the clinic. He discussed some of his own efforts toward this goal in a TEDx talk earlier this year. Check it out for yourself!