Welcome to the first issue of Cancer Genetics, formerly Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics. The inaugural issue of this journal was published in 1979, at a time when cancer cytogenetics was just emerging as a discipline, and investigators in pathology, oncology and genetics were only beginning to elucidate the genetic basis for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Dr. Avery Sandberg had the foresight to create a unique forum for publications in this field, and led this effort for 31 years. Dr. Sandberg recently concluded his tenure as editor-in-chief, and I am privileged and honored to assume this role with the January, 2011 issue of Cancer Genetics.
This past year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome by Drs. Peter Nowell and David Hungerford. On September 28, 2010 more than 200 of their colleagues and relatives celebrated this historic milestone at a symposium here in Philadelphia. Dr. Nowell brought us back in time as he described the events that led up to their landmark 1960 publication in Science. One by one, we heard how teams of creative and dedicated scientists identified the basis for the deleted chromosome as the derivative of a translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22; cloned the BCR-ABL breakpoints; and, ultimately, developed Imatinib, a drug that would allow a college undergraduate diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia to be treated by simply swallowing a pill every day. This patient now looks forward to a full and productive life, all based on what Dr. Nowell considers a serendipitous finding. It was an inspiring as well as nostalgic day and we look forward to bringing you highlights and photographs from this symposium in a future issue of the journal.
Remarkable advances in solid tumor cytogenetics have also been made in the last three decades. In the late 1980s and 1990s several hundred scientists, who represented virtually the entire international effort in the field, attended the bi-annual International Workshops on Chromosomes in Solid Tumors, organized by Dr. Jeffrey Trent in Tucson, Arizona. The first reports of almost every novel tumor-associated chromosomal translocation, deletion or amplification were presented at those meetings, and many of those presentations were ultimately published in Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics.
Advances in molecular biology have enabled us to identify numerous genes at leukemia- and solid tumor-associated chromosomal breakpoints. Hundreds of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes have been characterized in regions of non-random chromosomal gains or losses. These advances have led to improved cytogenetic and molecular diagnostic tests for patients who have cancer, as well as molecularly based screening protocols to assess genetic risk for cancer in their families.
Thirty years ago, no one anticipated that we would be able to generate the entire sequence of a human genome for less than a thousand dollars. However, the capacity to generate such data exceeds our understanding of how to utilize the genomic information for individual patient care. Furthermore, our ability to provide clinically relevant information for diagnosis, prognosis and risk evaluation outpaces the development of the drugs needed to treat disease. A greater understanding of how altered gene regulation leads to changes in cell growth and differentiation will ultimately lead to new, targeted therapies. In the future, this will be based not only on one key genetic alteration or pathway, but on an individual’s complex genomic, metabolic and proteomic profile. This is an extraordinary time to work in the field of cancer genetics, as we continue to elucidate the genetic etiology of the many different diseases we call cancer, and enter the era of personalized medicine. In the coming years, we hope to address all of these aspects of cancer research, from gene discovery to risk assessment and treatment, in Cancer Genetics.
We have made some changes to the journal to mark the beginning of this new era. The name was shortened to Cancer Genetics to reflect our broad aims and scope. We designed a new cover, and will include figures and artwork from articles appearing in each of the monthly issues. The interior content has also been re-formatted. The journal’s aims and scope have been updated to attract a wider variety of manuscripts and thus expand our readership. In addition to papers on the cellular, genetic, and molecular aspects of cancer, I look forward to publishing a greater number of articles in the areas of genetic predisposition to cancer, personalized medicine, and new diagnostic approaches. Change can be difficult, and we appreciate that contributors may be concerned that we will no longer publish manuscripts describing novel chromosomal alterations in cancer. On the contrary, cytogenetics is an integral part of what we do, and we welcome the submission of classical cytogenetic reports.
I am deeply grateful to our publisher, Kate Williamson; Joanne Frankland, Erika Carmody and the staff of Elsevier; our associate editor, Dr. Arthur Brothman; Dr. Laird Jackson; and previous editors of Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics, who have all helped me during this rapid transition period. I extend a special welcome to our new editorial board, many of who were involved with the journal during Dr. Sandberg’s tenure as Editor-in-Chief. I would also like to thank in advance the reviewers who will be instrumental in continuing to make Cancer Genetics a highly respected journal in the field. We look forward to the submission of review articles, full-length original articles as well as brief reports from you, our authors and readers, so that we can help those who matter the most: our patients, friends and relatives whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
© 2011 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.