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ISB Receives $8M From NIH to Investigate Cancer ‘Regulome,” Personalize Oncologics

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By Turna Ray

The Institute for Systems Biology
has received $8 million from the National Institutes of Health to help personalize new cancer drugs and new drug indications as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project.

The TCGA project, run by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, endeavors to genomically map more than 20 different forms of cancer.

The ISB will use the funds to launch the Center for Systems Analysis of the Cancer Regulome, the institute said in a statement.

Within this center, ISB will use bioinformatics and computational strategies to investigate the “regulome” or the regulatory activities of cancer cells, based on data generated by the TCGA Consortium. The “regulome” can include cell regulation components, such as genes, mRNAs, proteins, and metabolites.

The end goal will be to identify new drug targets and therapies for cancer.

According to an ISB spokesperson, researchers will “infer networks that explain cancer type-specific transcriptional profiles, and identify molecules that may be important control nodes in these networks as a means to prioritize drug targets for therapeutic intervention.” Additionally, researchers will compare “cancer-associated features across all cancer types within The Cancer Genome Atlas, to gain insight into the regulatory basis for cancer progression in different cancer types,” the spokesperson told Pharmacogenomics Reporter this week.

ISB Professor Ilya Shmulevich will be the co-primary investigator on the grant.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center lab directed by Wei Zhang will collaborate with ISB in this effort to analyze generated data. Other centers conducting genomic analysis for TCGA include the Broad Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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