The Breast Cancer Genome Guided Therapy Study (BEAUTY Project) will help physicians tailor chemotherapy to breast cancer patients based on their individual genomes and the genomes of their tumors. Mayo Clinic researchers will obtain three whole genome sequences: one from the patients’ healthy cells before treatment, and two tumor genomes – one before chemotherapy and one after. Patients will be paired with mouse “avatars” that will help physicians identify the best treatment for each person.
In phase one of the BEAUTY Project, researchers will study the first 200 participants to look for common mutations that allow some tumors to adapt and thrive during chemotherapy. This information will help doctors identify new drugs and treatment strategies.
Women diagnosed with “high-risk” cancers who are scheduled to receive standard chemotherapy before surgery will have their healthy genome and their breast cancer tumor cells sequenced before treatment, and then receive the commonly prescribed chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. At surgery, the residual cancer tumor cells will be sequenced again to evaluate how they have mutated and adapted to chemotherapy.
In addition, patients’ tumor tissue will be kept alive by implanting cell lines in immune-compromised mice — before and after chemotherapy. The use of these mouse “avatars’’ will let researchers study the effects of chemotherapy on individual patient tumors and identify the best treatment, without risk of harm to the patient.
The BEAUTY Project is being funded by benefactors and the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.
Together, the whole-genome sequencing data and transplanted cell lines are used to identify the gene pathways that influence individual patients’ responses to chemotherapy. Armed with this deeper understanding of the genomics of cancer, doctors will be able to optimize treatment plans for individual patients.
Journalists – Three videos of Beauty investigators are available:
Co-leader Judy Boughey, M.D., Mayo Clinic surgeon, on the process of the study: MP4
Co-leader Matthew Goetz, M.D., Mayo oncologist, on how Beauty is different from previous breast cancer studies: MP4
Pharmacogenomics expert Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., on the innovative aspect of Beauty: MP4