Journal of Undergraduate Research


bioinformatics, tumors, drug treatments, mutations


Life Sciences




Typically, tens or even hundreds of mutations are observed in the DNA of a single tumor by the time it has been detected1-4. Knowledge of these mutations may be useful in guiding the way the tumor is treated. In some cases, if a tumor has a mutation in a certain gene, this may indicate that the tumor can be treated with a certain drug. For example, the drug Trastuzumab is a targeted therapy for breast cancer patients with mutations in the HER2 gene5. In other cases, a mutation may be able to be targeted by a drug even if the drug wasn’t developed specifically for that mutation6. For both cases, many such relationships have been identified linking mutations to treatments7. However, many tumors do not contain a mutation with a known treatment. Because there are numerous genes that may be mutated in a tumor, it may be economically infeasible to develop targeted therapies for every rare mutation. However, we may be able to reuse existing drugs to target rare mutations by identifying similarities between tumors that harbor rare and common mutations.

Included in

Biology Commons