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ISB, MD Anderson Each Land $8 Million to Analyze Cancer Genome Atlas Project Data

This article has been updated to clarify and add information about the TCGA Genome Data Analysis and Genome Characterization Centers.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle and the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center said recently that they have each been awarded $8 million from the National Institutes of Health to serve as bioinformatics centers for The Cancer Genome Atlas, or TCGA, project.

TCGA is a joint effort supported of the National Cancer Institute and National Human Genome Research Institute that aims to develop genetic maps of 20 different types of cancer at several centers around the country.

ISB said that it will use nearly $8 million in funding to establish the Center for Systems Analysis of the Cancer Regulome, which will develop bioinformatic and computational tools to analyze data generated by the TCGA consortium. According to NCI, MD Anderson is a collaborator on the ISB grant.

“This is truly a groundbreaking effort and we are very enthusiastic about our part in this national collaboration,” ISB Professor and co-investigator Ilya Shmulevich said in a statement yesterday.

"Systems-level analyses of experimental data, involving mathematical modeling and engineering approaches, will improve our understanding of the molecular disruptions that occur in cancer,” added Shmulevich, who will run the ISB’s regulome research center.

Meantime, MD Anderson also landed its own $8.3 million grant, which it said it will use to study multi-gene pathways and combinations of pathways by employing a number of advanced computational tools and concepts such as Bayesian statistical analysis, artificial intelligence-based prediction methods, and clustered heat map representations of genomic data.

The four other TCGA Genome Data Analysis Centers are The Broad Institute; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Funding amounts for these centers has not yet been disclosed.

According to NCI, the Genome Data Analysis Centers will work hand-in-hand with six Genome Characterization Centers at various research institutions. Together, the centers aim to develop state-of-the-art tools that assist researchers with processing and integrating data analyses across the entire genome.

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