UMCCR Seminar: Dr Andrew Pattison and Priscilla Gates

Lecture Theatre C, Level 7, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, 305 Grattan St, Melbourne

Somatic variant calling from unmatched tumour RNA-Seq

Dr Andrew Pattison, Bioinformatics Cancer Genomics Analyst, RADIO Laboratory
University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research and Department of Clinical Pathology

Understanding changes to genes in a tumour can assist clinicians with predicting tumour progression, present new targets for treatment and guide researchers toward new therapeutic targets. Information about cancer-related mutations is present in RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) experiments, which are commonly used to measure the abundance of gene products in tumour samples. Unfortunately, it is technically challenging to use RNA-Seq for this purpose and mutations are therefore usually much easier to find using DNA sequencing methods such as whole genome sequencing or whole exome sequencing. Despite these challenges, it is possible to obtain information about mutations from RNA-Seq experiments provided suitable filters for RNA-specific errors are applied. This allows new information about mutations to be extracted for thousands of existing tumour samples.

Dr Andrew Pattison is developing a tool that finds information about DNA mutations in data that was originally designed to measure gene product abundance using a Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma (LUSC) dataset from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

A longitudinal cohort study exploring cancer related cognitive impairment in patients with newly diagnosed aggressive lymphoma undergoing standard chemotherapy

Priscilla Gates, RHD Student, Cancer Nursing Reseach
University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research and Melbourne School of Health Sciences

Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant/Survivorship Nurse Consultant, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, Austin Health

Cancer related cognitive impairment (CRCI) is a highly distressing and disabling side effect of treatment that affects up to 70% of patients post chemotherapy. Evidence from neuropsychological testing with cancer patients indicates that the cognitive domains most affected are memory, attention and executive function and that CRCI effects can last for weeks, months or even years after treatment completion. CRCI has been shown to negatively impact quality of life (QOL) and ability to undertake activities of daily living (ADL). Despite the well-documented prevalence and impact of CRCI, largely in women treated for breast cancer, understanding of aetiology, timing of onset, effective prevention and therapy is limited.