NBDriver – AI tool by IIT to study cancer-causing mutations

Source: The Hindu

What is the news?

Researchers at IIT Madras have developed an AI tool called NBDriver (neighborhood driver).

About NBDriver tool
  • NBDriver is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool developed to analyse cancer-causing mutations in cells.
    • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the Cell.
  • Method: NBDriver works by looking at the neighbourhood or context of a mutation in the genome. By looking at this, it can detect harmful “driver” mutations and distinguish them from neutral “passenger” mutations.
    • Driver & passenger mutations: Mutations that provide a selective growth advantage and thus promote cancer development are termed driver mutations and those that do not are termed passenger mutations.
Also Read: Growing cancer burden in India
Significance of this tool
  • The usual approach misses out on mutations: Researchers usually analyse DNA sequences from large groups of cancer patients by comparing sequences from cancer as well as normal cells and determine whether a particular mutation occurred more often in cancer cells than random. However, this approach often misses out on relatively rare driver mutations.

Hence, the technique of the NBDriver tool to look at the genomic neighbourhood to make the differentiation between Driver and Passenger Mutation is a novel and largely unexplored one.

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