Thursday, October 25, 2007

New schema for the Neoplasm Classification

The Developmental Lineage Classification and Taxonomy of Neoplasms first came out in 2003, and I've been making revisions and updates since then. Most of the work has involved adding new names of neoplasms, but this month I've made a change to the basic organization of the classification.

The schema is summarized here:

There are now six major classes, under the root class, Neoplasm

Neural Crest
Germ cell

Every neoplasm falls under one of the six major classes.

The rationale of the classification is that tumors inherit key cellular pathways through their developmental lineages. This assertion is supported by decades of morphologic evaluations of tumors. More recently, molecular biological observations have shown that genetic markers and pathways are carried through cell lineage. Tumors grouped by cell lineage may share responses to new chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive agents targeted to specific pathways. If this is true, we can start to develop agents (and combinations of agents) that are effective against groups of neoplasms that share a common developmental lineage.

This theme has been developed in several of my early papers. The most popular paper, which has had many thousands of downloads, is:

Tumor classification: molecular analysis meets Aristotle

The complete classified taxonomy is available as a gzipped XML file at:

The taxonomy contains the names of over 5,000 different neoplasms, and about 130,000 synonymous terms. It is the most comprehensive listing of neoplasms in the world, and it is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

-Jules J. Berman

In June, 2014, my book, entitled Rare Diseases and Orphan Drugs: Keys to Understanding and Treating the Common Diseases was published by Elsevier. The book builds the argument that our best chance of curing the common diseases will come from studying and curing the rare diseases.

I urge you to read more about my book. There's a generous preview of the book at the Google Books site. If you like the book, please request your librarian to purchase a copy of this book for your library or reading room.

tags: common disease, orphan disease, orphan drugs, rare disease, subsets of disease, disease genetics, genetics of complex disease, genetics of common diseases, cryptic disease