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Cancer Genome Atlas Gets $275M Funding from Stimulus, NCI and NHGRI

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Cancer Genome Atlas project will receive a total of $275 million over the next two years to fund genomic mapping of more than 20 types of cancer.

The $175 million in ARRA funding announced Wednesday by President Barack Obama will be buttressed by an additional $100 million from the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Obama said in a speech at the National Institutes of Health's campus on Wednesday that genomics and human genetics research have begun to generate hope for cancer treatments, but, "We've only scratched the surface of these kinds of treatments, because we've only begun to understand the relationship between our environment and genetics in causing and promoting cancer."

Over the two-year period, TCGA plans to collect more than 20,000 tissue samples from more than 20 cancer types, complete maps of the genomic changes in 10 of those cancers, and sequence and characterize at least 100 tumors of as many as 15 additional cancers. These maps will be deposited into public databases for use by the worldwide research community in research programs aimed at finding new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer.

NCI and NHGRI are currently deciding which types of cancer will be studied in the TCGA, and are considering factors such as the frequency and severity of the disease, and whether effective treatments currently exist.

Funding for the following three years of the project has not yet been set, but will be "finalized shortly," NCI said.

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