“Information Theory” to track the Cancer genes!

Recently, the scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered the key genetic culprit for Cancer. This was done in the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). With the use of wide known field of mathematics, which is mainly developed to scrutinize the digital and other forms of information are used, stored and shared.

Basically, ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia. This strikes an estimated 3,000 children and teens each year in the United States alone. Significantly, the Johns Hopkins along with the team utilized the “information theory.” This theory can be applied to the analysis which depend on the strings of zeros and ones. Thus, this is the binary number system of symbols which are common to the computer languages and codes. In addition, they can be distinguished as the variables or outcomes of a particular process. However, considering humans, in case of cancer biology, the scientists concentrate  on the chemical process occurring within the cells called DNA methylation. In DNA methylation, there are certain chemical groups attach 0 areas of genes that guide genes’ on/off switches.

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Andrew Feinberg said “This study demonstrates how a mathematical language of cancer can help us understand how cells are supposed to behave and how alterations in that behavior affect our health.” Andrew Feinberg, is the M.D., M.P.H., Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Whiting School of Engineering and Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is the founder of the field of cancer epigenetics. Notably, Andrew Feinberg found altered DNA methylation in cancer in the 1980s.

With the assignment of zeros and ones into the pieces of genetic code required to methylate or unmethylate. By the use of concepts of information theory and computer programs the recognition patterns of methylation are found. This, the scientists are able to discover the regions of the genome that were consistently methylated in patients with leukemia and those without cancer.

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