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UCSD, UCSF Launch Multimillion Dollar Cancer Cell Map Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A group led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco has launched the Cancer Cell Map Initiative (CCMI), which aims to sketch a "wiring diagram" of normal and mutated genes and proteins within a cancer cell.

The project is a collaboration between the UCSD Moores Cancer Center and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, which will provide tissue samples from cancer patients. The initiative will also draw on expertise at UCSD for analyzing large datasets and on technologies developed at UCSF for interrogating the structure and function of cells.

CCMI is led by Nevan Krogan, director of the UCSF division of QB3, a life science institute, and an investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, and by Trey Ideker, chief of medical genetics at the UCSD Department of Medicine and founder of the UCSD Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

Other partners include the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, the Clinical and Translational Research Institutes at UCSD and UCSF, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The multimillion dollar collaboration is funded by QB3 at UCSF, UCSD Health Sciences, and Fred Luddy, the founder of ServiceNow, an enterprise service management software provider.

CCMI aims to help with the interpretation of genomic data from tumor sequencing projects, with the hope of accelerating the development of personalized treatments.

"Mutations in tumor DNA that at first appear to be unrelated may in fact be clustered in specific pathways or multi-protein machines in the cell. The information, in context, will point to areas that we can target with specific therapies," Krogan said in a statement.

In addition, the partners said the initiative will "provide key infrastructure" for the alliance UCSD Health Sciences and Human Longevity struck almost a year ago. Under the agreement, Human Longevity will sequence thousands of tumor genomes from UCSD cancer patients.

CCMI will also use cancer genomics data from the National Cancer Institute, including databases developed in collaboration with the San Diego Supercomputer Center and UC Santa Cruz.