• DNA Strand

    Mayo Clinic Develops Faster Tumor Analysis Software, Speeds Cancer Discoveries

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Feb. 24, 2014 — Mayo Clinic researchers have fashioned a new key to unlocking the secrets of the human genome. The Binary Indexing Mapping Algorithm, version 3 (BIMA V3) is a freely available computer algorithm that identifies alterations in tumor genomes up to 20 times faster and with 25 percent greater accuracy than other popular genomic alignment programs. BIMA results are published this month in the journal Bioinformatics.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Vasmatzis are available in the downloads.

BIMA is a next-generation sequencing mapping and alignment algorithm, customized to process mate pair library sequencing. Mate pair sequencing is a comprehensive and cost-effective method for detecting changes throughout the entire genome.

“BIMA allows us to evaluate tumor genomes in a fraction of the time it takes many popular technologies,” says George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist, director of the Biomarker Discovery Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, and senior author of the paper. “We believe this tool will lead to a better understanding of tumor genomics, and ultimately better therapy for patients with cancer.”

In a side-by-side comparison with two popular sequencing alignment programs, BIMA outperformed the Burrows-Wheeler Aligner and Novoalign in all categories tested, according to the paper. In speed and reliability benchmarks, BIMA V3 aligned tumor sequences to reference genomes 20 times faster and with 25 percent greater accuracy than its competitors, according to the paper.

“We are able to study more cancer samples faster with this tool, and that has played a key role in our ability to discover new biomarkers in a range of diseases,” says Dr. Vasmatzis.

In the push to apply next-generation sequencing to cancer care, it will be essential to improve physicians’ understanding of the genomic alterations in individual patients’ tumors, says Vasmatzis. Earlier versions of BIMA already have led to Mayo Clinic discoveries in the genomics of T-cell lymphoma, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer. This latest version builds on earlier versions, improving speed and reliability.

Future development of BIMA includes validation for direct application in patient care.

The Biomarker Discovery Program last year described 13 molecular markers for cancer, many of them directly resulting from application of the BIMA software.

BIMA V3 was a joint development project implemented by individuals from the Biomarker Discovery, Information Technology and Bioinformatics programs in the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. The Center for Individualized Medicine provided funding for this project.

Coauthors of this paper include Travis Drucker; Sarah Johnson; Stephen Murphy, Ph.D.; Kendall Cradic, and Terry Therneau, Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic.


About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit 150years.mayoclinic.org, www.mayoclinic.org/ and newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

About the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine
The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is home to the Individualized Medicine Clinic, the world’s first integrated multidisciplinary genomics clinic, serving patients with advanced cancer and complex diagnoses. The center discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. Visit mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine for more information.


Sam Smith, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu