Software Hunts for Malignant Mutations


Cancer cells develop lots of mutations, but not all of them are relevant. Finding the 5 percent to 20 percent that are worth studying can be time consuming. Now, a team of Johns Hopkins engineers has developed groundbreaking computer software that will help narrow in on those relevant suspects. Rachel Karchin, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, supervised development of mathematical software that enables scientists to speed up significantly the hunt for cancer triggers. “The simple idea is to prioritize these mutations for researchers,” Karchin says.

The new computational method, called CHASM—short for Cancer-specific High-throughput Annotation of Somatic Mutations—can sift through thousands of newly discovered genetic mutations in cancer cells to highlight the DNA changes most likely to promote tumor growth and rule out those just along for the ride. The software was developed via the university’s Institute for Computational Medicine—a joint effort of the Whiting School and the School of Medicine that focuses on research aimed at identifying, analyzing, and comparing basic biological components and processes that regulate human disease.

See the full story at Johns Hopkins Magazine.


JHU - Institute for Computational Medicine