They design a new bioinformatics tool to identify chromosomal alterations in tumor cells

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Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 16:29
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They design a new bioinformatics tool to identify chromosomal alterations in tumor cells

Read this article in Catalan

A team from the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona) has designed a new bioinformatics tool to facilitate the identification of chromosomal alterations that are characteristic of tumor cells. This new detection system, known as QATS, is a computational biological image processing tool that will contribute to improving tumor research and classification thanks to its ability to automatically identify and quantify phenotypes associated with chromosome instability. in the nucleus of tumor cells.

The work, published in the journal Bioinformatics, is signed by professor Caroline Mauvezin, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB and IDIBELL, and researcher Carles Pons, member of IRB Barcelona.

Identify chromosomal changes in tumor cells

Chromosomal instability is very common in solid tumors and is linked to both the onset and progression of cancer, as well as the metastasis of tumor cells. This phenomenon, caused by changes in the number and structure of chromosomes during cell division, can induce changes in DNA and also affect the entire cellular machinery. Furthermore, chromosomal instability not only favors the origin and progression of the tumor, but also enhances intratumoral heterogeneity and resistance to antitumor treatments.

Tumor cells are able to survive with high levels of chromosomal instability. The new QATS (QuAntification of Toroidal nuclei in biological imageS) tool is a predictor system that will help automatically identify and quantify toroidal nuclei—new biomarkers of chromosomal instability—in biological images.

«Toroidal nuclei are phenotypically different from normal nuclei, since they have a ring shape and a hole that contains cytosolic material. In the field of research, they have recently been characterized as important biomarkers of chromosomal instability and represent an innovative way to understand and combat cancer," explains Professor Caroline Mauvezin, from the Department of Biomedicine at the UB.

"Traditionally, the level of chromosomal instability in cancer cells was only evaluated by quantifying micronuclei, which are irregular structures derived from the cell nucleus that can contain chromosomes or chromosomal fragments," adds the researcher. "Therefore, integrating the strategy to evaluate toroidal nuclei in research and clinical practice has immense potential for the stratification of tumors and the design of specific treatments for patients," explains Carles Pons, associate researcher at the Laboratory of Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology at IRB Barcelona.

Currently, the QATS system has demonstrated effectiveness in identifying and quantifying toroidal nuclei in preclinical studies of cancer cell lines. "Looking ahead, the application of QATS in more complex biological scenarios - human tissue samples from patient biopsies - will represent a major advance for the scientific and medical communities to improve cancer diagnosis and treatments in patients," they close. the authors.