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The Next Step

As The Cancer Genome Atlas effort to profile some 10,000 tumors winds down, researchers are contemplating their next move, Nature News writes. Should more sequencing be done, or should the mutations the project identified be explored in depth?

The TCGA, which is part of the wider International Cancer Genome Consortium, has been a success, according to Johns Hopkins University's Bert Vogelstein, as the data it produced has pointed to new ways to classify tumors as well as uncovered new drug targets.

The National Cancer Institute's Louis Staudt says that after the TCGA has finished, NCI will continue to support the sequencing of ovarian, colorectal, and lung tumors, and may add in other tumor types based on findings from those efforts.

As Nature News notes, these newer efforts plan to fold in clinical data to allow researchers to link mutations to patient prognosis and treatment response. The next set of ICGC projects will likely take a similar approach, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research's Tom Hudson adds.

"Genomics is at the center of much of what we do in cancer research," NCI's Staudt tells Nature News. "Now we can ask questions in a more directed way."