26. Molecular Diagnostics and Proteomics
Another major focus of molecular diagnostics looks beyond genes to an investigation of the proteome. The term "proteome" refers to all the proteins produced by a cell, and the study of these proteins is proteomics. Cancer proteomics is enabling mapping of the patterns of proteins involved when normal cellular pathways are hijacked in support of malignant growth. In cancerous tissue, some of the proteins critical for normal communication are damaged, inactive, overactive, or missing entirely. The full set of deranged and dominating proteins at work disrupting cellular communications may vary from one cancer type to another. They may also vary somewhat from one patient to another within a cancer type.