The Beroukhim laboratory focuses on understanding the somatic genetics of cancer, primarily in identifying alterations in chromosomal structure (including copy-number gains and losses and loss of heterozygosity) that contribute to tumor growth, and characterizing the biological effects of these alterations. The aims of these experiments are to understand the biological basis of the various cancer subtypes to guide development of therapeutics, and to develop prognostic and predictive markers to guide the application of those therapeutics.
Much of our effort focuses on developing computational methods with general applicability to the study of the somatic genetics of cancer. An example is the Genomic Identification of Significant Targets In Cancer (GISTIC) algorithm, a statistical technique that distinguishes chromosomal alterations that are likely to drive tumorigenesis from alterations that may result from random chance alone. We and our collaborators have used this approach across many thousands of cancers to identify novel oncogenes and tumor suppressors and to determine genetic interactions between them. We also have developed approaches to take advantage of vulnerabilities induced by copy-number changes, including through their effect on non-driver genes.
A separate focus of the lab has been understanding the genomics of brain cancers. We have multiple projects across adult and pediatric gliomas, meningiomas, brain metastases, and other tumor types.