Beyond Cancer Genomics

In an essay for Science Signaling, KI faculty member Michael Yaffe, the David H. Koch Professor of Science, makes a case for looking at cancer not as a disease of genetics, but as a disease of signaling. Yaffe argues that although genetic approaches have resulted in extraordinary insights into the disease, signaling information should be incorporated into the clinical decision-making process. He advocates for improving protein-based measurement technologies to analyze tumor cell signaling in clinical samples. This emphasis on expanding the cancer research focus from genetics to a broader program is echoed by other researchers and initiatives at MIT. For example, at MIT’s Center for Precision Cancer Medicine (which Yaffe directs), researchers explicitly incorporated non-genomic approaches into the fundamental mission and research portfolio.