Microarrays—the 21st century divining rod?

Artificial neural networks were used to decipher gene-expression signatures collected with DNA microarrays and to classify cancers into specific categories

Yudong D. He; Stephen H. Friend

2002

Scholarcy highlights

  • Artificial neural networks were used to decipher gene-expression signatures collected with DNA microarrays and to classify cancers into specific categories
  • Will this technology lead to better diagnostic tools and new therapeutic targets?
  • Primitive tribes believed that the answers to important questions could be found by examining bags of animal bones, studying mammalian entrails or searching with divining rods
  • Critical decisions in cancer therapeutics are to some extent still guided by fairly unsophisticated determinants, such as what organ the tumor arose from, how big it is, and what it looks like after it has been imbedded in wax and colored with different dyes
  • We refer to these techniques as tumor staging, and the dyes have sophisticated names like hematoxylin, eosin and tetrabromfluorescein
  • New technologies such as expression arrays, which allow us to monitor the expression of thousands of individual genes, could overcome the limitations of old methods of diagnosis and prognosis based on a limited numbers of markers1,2,3,4,5

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