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NCI Earmarks $13M for Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium Centers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Cancer Institute announced that it plans to award $13 million in grant funding in fiscal year 2016 to support the establishment of up to 10 centers that will support the agency's Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC).

CPTAC began in 2006 as part of a broader NCI initiative to "understand and address the experimental and analytical sources of error in existing proteomics technologies." The second phase of the consortium kicked off in 2011 with the goal of using the standardized proteomic workflows established in the first phase to complement genomics approaches for tumor analysis.

Thus far, the NCI said, the Proteome Characterization Centers (PCCs) that comprise CPTAC have interrogated colorectal, ovarian, and breast tumors and demonstrated the benefits of integrating proteomics with genomics to "produce a more unified understanding of cancer biology."

Through the latest funding opportunities, the NCI now aims to fund additional PCCs, as well as a number of Proteogenomic Translational Research Centers (PTRCs), which will apply standardized proteomic and genomic approaches to clinically relevant research projects, and Proteogenomic Data Analysis Centers (PGDACs), which will be tasked with analyzing and interpreting CPTAC data.

Specifically, the NCI said it will commit $4 million to fund up to three new PCCs that will use one or more proteomic technologies to comprehensively characterize the protein composition of human biospecimens and preclinical models provided by the agency, followed by further analysis of selected targets in subsequent studies.

The NCI will also provide $4.5 million in funding for up to three PTRCs that will perform genomic and proteomic characterizations in preclinical and clinical specimens gain insights into cancer drug response and toxicity prediction and resistance. PTRCs may also focus on characterizing alterations in proteins involved in cancer-related pathways.

Lastly, the agency has set aside $4.5 million to fund up to four PGDACs that will be responsible for developing computational tools for data analysis, data integration, and visualization, and applying these tools to CPTAC-generated data.

Such tools are expected to be automated and feature interfaces appropriate for scientists with bioinformatics and computer science expertise, the NCI noted. They are also expected to be ready for deployment within six months from the start of the project and enable the analysis of data around proteomic, genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic aberrations.

The NCI noted that PCCs, PTRCs, and PGDACs will all collaborate to advance the overall mission of the CPTAC.

"This unique combination of coordinating research approaches, sharing of research data, and combining proteomic with genomic analysis should allow the CPTAC program to produce a more unified understanding of cancer biology with translational potential," the agency said.

Additional information about the funding opportunities can be found here, here, and here