Breast and ovarian cancers are significant causes of disease and death among North American women. Tumours in these cancers can acquire different mutations, resulting in cells that may respond differently to therapy. However, this genetic diversity within tumours is rarely considered when it comes to treatment, even though it is believed to contribute to drug resistance and disease progression.
While new sequencing technologies have provided some insight into the nature of tumour evolution, it is still unclear how evolutionary processes contribute to cancer.
Dr. Sohrab Shah is using sequencing data gathered from breast and ovarian cancer patient samples to create software that will improve understanding of tumour evolution and help predict clinical results.