Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborators have identified four distinct genetic subtypes of multiple myeloma, a deadly blood cancer, that have different prognoses and might be treated most effectively with drugs specifically targeted to those subtypes.

A new computational tool based on an algorithm designed to recognize human faces plucked the four distinguishing gene patterns out of a “landscape” of many DNA alterations in the myeloma genome, the researchers report in the April 2006 issue of Cancer Cell.

These results “define new disease subgroups of multiple myeloma that can be correlated with different clinical outcomes,” wrote the authors, led by Ronald DePinho, MD, director of Dana- Farber’s Center for Applied Cancer Science.

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