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ICGC Launches New Cancer Research Projects in China

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The International Cancer Genome Consortium announced late on Tuesday four projects in China to identify the genomic drivers in colorectal, esophageal, liver, and nasopharyngeal cancers.

Xuetao Cao and Xuemin Zhang are overseeing the new projects, which will be "scientifically steered" by Youyong Lu and Huanming Yang. Zhang will coordinate the projects with other scientists in China.

The new projects take aim at cancers that are more common in China, a founding member of ICGC, than in the rest of the world. Gastric, esophageal, and liver cancers occur twice as often in China than elsewhere, for example, ICGC said, while the rate of nasopharyngeal cancers are 70 percent higher in the country than the rest of the world.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in China, with about 2.7 million people diagnosed each year and 1.9 million people dying from the disease.

The new projects, in conjunction with other existing research projects, will allow researchers to decipher genetic and lifestyle differences between Caucasian and Asian cancer patients by comparing results with other ICGC projects in esophageal, liver, and colorectal cancers in France, Japan, the UK, and the US, ICGC said.

"We believe that more genomic data from Asian cancer patients will augment the work of existing ICGC cancer projects and promote progress toward making cancer a manageable condition," Yang said in a statement.

ICGC, which seeks to elucidate the genomic changes in various cancers, said that as of this month it has received funding from organizations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America for 51 project teams in 15 jurisdictions to study more than 25,000 tumor genomes.