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Research Highlights

Karchin computer program IDs likely cancer mutations

September 14, 2009

Rachel Karchin, right, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and doctoral student Hannah Carter led a Johns Hopkins team that developed software to narrow the search for mutations linked to cancer. Photo by Will Kirk.
Rachel Karchin, right, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and doctoral student Hannah Carter led a Johns Hopkins team that developed software to narrow the search for mutations linked to cancer. Photo by Will Kirk.

Johns Hopkins assistant professor of biomedical engineering Rachel Karchin and doctoral student Hannah Carter led a Johns Hopkins team that developed innovative computer software that can sift through hundreds of genetic mutations and highlight the DNA changes that are most likely to promote cancer. The goal is to provide critical help to researchers who are poring over numerous newly discovered gene mutations, many of which are harmless or have no connection to cancer. According to its inventors, the new software will enable these scientists to focus more of their attention on the mutations most likely to trigger tumors.

A description of the method and details of a test using it on brain cancer DNA were published in the August 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research: Cancer-specific high-throughput annotation of somatic mutations..