The field of genomics has led to the idea of personalized medicine due to the fact that many human diseases and response to therapeutic treatment are associated with genetic aberrations. Specifically, mutated or dysregulated genes may cause proteins to be abnormally expressed, modified and/or activated, leading to many diseases including autoimmune, metabolic diseases and cancer. However, while genes may direct the production of proteins, it is the proteins that directly control and perform the biological processes within a cell, as well as mediate communications between cells.
In cancer, proteins perform a broad range of functions or activities that promote tumor cell survival, growth and metastasis. These functions can involve one or more biological processes, and frequently initiate inter- and intra-cellular biochemical communication mechanisms that can involve extracellular ligands, membrane receptors and downstream intracellular signaling pathways. The biochemical nature of this communication network is dynamic and commonly results in transient, post-translational protein modifications (phosphorylation, cleavage, etc.) which are events that cannot be directly determined by genomic or transcriptomic analysis.