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Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2010 Jun;12(3):284-93.

Functional genomics and cancer drug target discovery.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Medical Oncology, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The recent development of technologies for whole-genome sequencing, copy number analysis and expression profiling enables the generation of comprehensive descriptions of cancer genomes. However, although the structural analysis and expression profiling of tumors and cancer cell lines can allow the identification of candidate molecules that are altered in the malignant state, functional analyses are necessary to confirm such genes as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Moreover, recent research suggests that tumor cells also depend on synthetic lethal targets, which are not mutated or amplified in cancer genomes; functional genomics screening can facilitate the discovery of such targets. This review provides an overview of the tools available for the study of functional genomics, and discusses recent research involving the use of these tools to identify potential novel drug targets in cancer.

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