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The Challenges of Measuring Tumor Heterogeneity

Ari Melnick, MD
Published Online:6:05 PM, Tue April 1, 2014
Ari Melnick, MD, a professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses the challenges associated with measuring tumor heterogeneity.

Clinical Pearls

  • Measuring variability requires looking at many methylated sites in the genome, which is unlikely to become a routine test
  • There remains a need for a way to measure tumor heterogeneity in a reliable and meaningful way
  • Researchers are currently looking for si​tes in the genome that may be a surrogate marker for genome-wide profiling
  • It is impossible to target diversity from the genetic standpoint, though epigenetic diversity could be targeted
  • Hypothetically, drugs could demethylate the genome to make it more uniform
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