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Global Consortium Forms to Advance Cancer Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A group of research organizations from ten nations are pooling their resources, infrastructure, and expertise in a collaboration aimed at generating “high quality genomic data on up to 50 types of cancer,” the National Institutes of Health said today.
 
Each member institute involved in The International Cancer Genome Consortium will conduct high-resolution analysis of the range of genomic changes in at least one specific type or subtype of cancer, NIH said.
 
Each of the projects will use specimens from roughly 500 patients and is expected to cost around $20 million, NIH said.
 
“Clearly, there is an urgent need to reduce cancer’s terrible toll,” said ICGC Secretariat Thomas Hudson. “To help meet that need, the consortium will use new genome analysis technologies to produce comprehensive catalogs of the genetic mutations involved in the world’s major types of cancer,” Hudson added.
 
In addition to NIH, the ICGC members include Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council; Canada’s Genome Canada and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; the Chinese Cancer Genome Consortium; the European Commission; France’s National Cancer Institute; India’s Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology; RIKEN’s National Cancer Center in Japan; the Genome Institute of Singapore; and the UK’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
 
The ICGC suggested that its members involved in producing genomic catalogs consider several key factors, including “comprehensiveness, which involves detecting all cancer-related genetic mutations that occur in at least three percent of tumor samples; resolution, which involves generating data at the level of individual DNA bases; quality, which involves monitoring based on common standards for pathology and technology; and controls, which involves comparisons of data from matched, non-tumor tissue.”
 
The member nations of the ICGC plan to agree to common standards covering consent and ethics issues, NIH said.
 
In order to maximize the public benefit of the research, the ICGC plans to make data from the studies publicly available to qualified investigators.
 
The ICGC is made up of Funding Members and Research Members, the ICGC said in a white paper outlining its structure and plans, each of which is an individual or allied group that will provide a level of funding or scientific expertise needed to undertake a Cancer Genome Project.
 
The Funding Members will be required to provide the equivalent of a minimum of $20 million on a project to cover operations, salaries, consumables, etc., over a period of five years.
 
Research Members will be nominated by Funding Members, and must have the demonstrated capability and capacity to support a Cancer Genome Project according to a set of ICGC’s regulations.

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