“Boadicea was the name of a British soldier who fought the Roman invasion. Now is also the name of a new tool to combat the new enemy: cancer.” The researcher of the University of Cambridge, Antonis Antoniou, explained at the IDIBELL seminar on 30 September his latest advances in the development of genetic models, such Boadicea, to predict susceptibility hereditary breast cancer.
The analytical work of Antonis Antoniou team is to apply mathematical and computational techniques to the genetic information that reaches them from familial cases of mutations in BRCA1 i BRCA2 genes, associated with risk of breast cancer, to see which genetic models fit the data best and could be useful models for predicting risk of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer among others.
From this work, it has born the Boadicea model, already used more than 1,500 users worldwide. “Clinical applications of the program are, on one hand help decide the suitability of a genetic test according to a woman’s probability of being a carrier of mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2, and on the other, to identify women at high risk of breast cancer, although they don’t present mutations in these genes they have family history. It is also used for selecting high-risk families in clinical trials.”
Boadicea model is constantly evolving because it has been discovered about thirty genetic variants that, although they have much less penetrance than BRCA1 and BRCA2, modify the risk of breast cancer. “The challenge” says Antoniou “is finding a way to combine all this new information into a mathematical model to perform more accurate risk predictions”.