Chromosomal Instability & Aneuploidy

The 2016 Forbeck Foundation meeting provided an exciting venue for researchers in different fields to come together, for the first time, to discuss new advances in understanding the structure of cancer genomes, with potentially important implications for novel therapeutic strategies in cancer. Much like the evolution of a new organism, cancer genomes evolve from normal ones by a series of DNA alterations, enabling all of the manifestations of the disease to develop. It is common to quote Shakespeare’s Tempest for the insight that “What’s past is prologue;” this insight was the theme of the 2016 Forbeck meeting. Knowing the past history of a cancer genome can help us identify the “drivers” of uncontrolled cancer cell division. Such drivers are important drug targets. Knowledge of the evolutionary history can also tell us about trade-offs made during cancer evolution, trade-offs that could lead vulnerabilities that might also be “druggable.”