Dr. Rendong Yang, head of the Computational Cancer Genomics lab at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota published breakthrough research on exitron splicing (EIS) and its role in cancer. Dr. Yang and team looked at a collection of all the gene readouts present in a cell across over 9,000 tumor patient samples to discover how EIS affects cancer growth.
Dr. Yang’s lab is unique at The Hormel Institute because his research uses computers to find answers to cancer. He develops algorithms, creates machine learning approaches, and uses large scale data analysis to discover how cancer works, new approaches to treatments, and better ways for patients to learn about their specific cancer.
Exitron splicing (EIS) is a biological process that can change the sequence of genes when genes are transcribed from DNA to RNA and therefore spark abnormal protein products. EIS is poorly characterized, but emerging evidence suggests a role for EIS in cancer. Through a systematic investigation of EIS across 33 cancers from 9,599 tumor transcriptomes, Dr. Yang and team discovered EIS affected 63% of human coding genes and 95% of those events were tumor-specific.
The comprehensive analysis of EIS events in cancer provides a reference of candidate cancer driver events, potential immunogenic neoantigens, and predictive signatures for immunotherapy response that are missed by genetic mutation analysis alone.