A team of international researchers has identified 27 genes that can help suppress the development of cancer.

Made using a new statistical model, the discovery could help advance the development of precision cancer drugs. The scientists from Francis Crick Institute and the University of Leuven, in partnership with the University of Chicago and the University of Oslo, developed computational tools that help identify the different DNA footprints of harmful and non-harmful genes.

“Using this powerful toolkit, we’ve uncovered rare tumour suppressor genes that when lost in mutated cells, cause cancer,” explained Jonas Demeulemeester, researcher at the Francis Crick Institute. “This could pave the way for the development of personalised cancer treatments.”

The discovery was made from the analysis of 2000 tumours across 12 different cancers types found in humans.

“Cancer genomics is a growing area of research, and the computational tools we use are a powerful way to find new genes involved in cancer,” added Peter Van Loo, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute.

The research is published in Nature Communications.

Advances in genomics are key to unlocking the era of precision medicine. A number of global initiatives are harnessing IBM technologies to do so, including a people-powered supercomputer platform where everyone can contribute to ‘smashing childhood cancer’ and other deadly diseases.