The cancer genome atlas project to map 20 tumor types
(17 October 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- During a visit to the NIH campus last week, President Barack Obama announced that NIH will spend $275 million over the next 2 years to catalogue the genetic changes driving more than 20 types of cancer.
The grant, which includes $175 million in Recovery Act funds, will support the second phase of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. This collaborative effort led by NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) aims to discover the molecular alterations that occur in major types and subtypes of cancer.
Leaders of the project said that the TCGA pilot study, launched in 2006, has demonstrated the feasibility of using integrated genomic strategies to characterize the molecular alterations in cancer. The first three cancers profiled were brain, lung, and ovarian.
“The pilot project showed not only that we could build the infrastructure for a large-scale genome mapping project, but also that a very large team of scientists could come together and do work that benefits the entire community,” said NCI Deputy Director Dr. Anna Barker, who co-leads the research program.
More than 150 researchers at some 18 centers around the country will use various genomic technologies, including next-generation DNA sequencing machines, to produce the data. As has happened during the pilot project, the information will be deposited in public databases, where the scientific community can use the results for many purposes, including searching for vulnerabilities in tumors that could be exploited by therapies.
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