Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Functionally Recurrent Rearrangement of the MAST Kinase and NOTCH Gene Families in Breast Cancer

Technology #4958

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Arul Chinnaiyan
Managed By
Ed Pagani
Associate Director, Health Technologies 734-763-3558


Breast cancer is a disease that exhibits a wide range of molecular deviations and clinical outcomes. In 2009, approximately 250,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 women died from the disease. A number of recurrent gene fusions and translocations, which is the formation of a gene from the association of two separate genes, have been linked to the development of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Classification of cancers by their underlying molecular mechanisms, rather than the formation by organ site or cell origin, will guide physicians to administer guided treatments for their patients.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified two novel classes of recurrent gene rearrangement in breast cancer. Findings from this research support the notion that recurrent gene rearrangements play a significant role in subsets of common epithelial tumors and suggest that transcriptome sequencing may serve as a modality to identify patients with rare, actionable gene fusions. In addition, this research identifies novel targets for personalized breast cancer treatment.

Applications and Advantages


  • Breast cancer therapeutic target
  • Diagnostic biomarker


  • Novel target
  • Personalized treatment