This month marks the fifth annual cancer issue for Genome Technology, and also the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. In a field that's seen active, ongoing research for the last century, you have to wonder just how much could be changing in any particular year.
Quite a lot, in fact. In the years that we've been offering our annual status report on cancer research, this past year may well have been the most transformative — in other words, progress is accelerating. In the past 12 months we've seen the first findings from both The Cancer Genome Atlas and the Tumor Sequencing Project, both large-scale efforts to apply genomics in major studies of various kinds of cancer. And just in the past few weeks, Massachusetts General Hospital said that it would start genotyping all new cancer patients as part of the routine workup on a biopsy or tumor, making it the first known hospital to implement genomics in such a sweeping manner.
With advances like that, no wonder we find it worthwhile to offer you this status report on the cancer research field each year. In our cover story, we highlight some of the most innovative work done recently, including studies of microRNA biomarkers, metabolomics, sequencing rare cancers, and many more. This month's Lab Reunion profiles Rick Wilson, who made a name for himself in the Human Genome Project and is now focusing heavily on cancer genomics. We also have a Q&A with NCI's James Doroshow to find out how genomics and proteomics are being used in clinical trials for cancer treatments.
If cancer's not your thing, don't despair. We have great feature articles on metagenomics — with peeks at its newest friends, including metaproteomics and metatranscriptomics — and genome-wide association studies, which are moving beyond SNPs to add deeper levels of data to the analyses. This month's Brute Force takes you on a tour of the latest in GPUs, and our clinical case study focuses on the chemical genomics screening megafacility that NHGRI's Chris Austin has built. Enjoy.