Cancer has many causes, and tumour cells have multiple hallmarks, most of which are related to genetic variations found in the cancer genome. These variations can affect how the disease progresses and how it should be treated. Although much research has been done on mutations in areas of the genome that code for proteins, genomic rearrangements and mutations in noncoding regions of the genome may also affect how cancer progresses.
Dr. Sushant Kumar, Canada Research Chair in Genomic Medicine, is developing computational methods that integrate sequencing, functional genomics, protein structure, and clinical and pharmacogenomics data. He and his research team are using these methods to predict the molecular effect of cancer missense mutations on protein-protein and protein-drug interactions, to investigate the role of non-coding mutations in cancer, and to characterize genomic rearrangements and their influence on tumour growth. Ultimately, their findings will shed light on the role of genomic variants in cancer and help to detect new cancer biomarkers.