Genomic Instability

Video Transcript

Most of the cells in our bodies divide to allow for growth, maintenance, and repair of tissue. Under normal circumstances, cell division begins by the cell copying its DNA and then splitting to form two daughter cells.


As the DNA is copied, there are checkpoints and multiple surveillance mechanisms in place to “proofread” the DNA that is being copied to make sure it’s exactly like the original. Our bodies also naturally produce tumor suppressor genes, which regulate cell division and repair DNA copy mistakes. As long as the DNA stays healthy and maintains its integrity, the cell can divide and perform all its necessary functions.


What happens when things go wrong? Defects in cell division, or in the DNA surveillance and repair processes, can result in something called genomic instability. Genomic instability is an increased likelihood for mutations and alterations to occur and remain in the DNA as cells divide. Genomic instability can be due to exposure to toxic substances that induce DNA damage or can result from diseases like cancer that disrupt the normal cell division and DNA repair processes, allowing cells to grow out of control. Two common types of genomic instability are homologous recombination deficiency, known as HRD and microsatellite instability, or, MSI.


In some cancers, mutations may be present in genes important for repairing damaged DNA. When this happens errors that occur when DNA is being copied will not be repaired. Broken, missing, rearranged or extra sections of DNA are types of defects present in cancers with genomic instability. For many of these, unique treatment options are available. Caris molecular testing examines the DNA, RNA, and proteins within your cells. By profiling the specific aspects of your tumor, genomic instability can be identified, and a catered treatment plan provided to your doctor. Ask your doctor about Caris today.

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Patient Education Videos

The Central Principles of Molecular Biology video series is meant to help explain molecular profiling and cancer, so that you can understand how Caris molecular profiling helps fight cancer through precision oncology.