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Broad Institute, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to Sequence Genomes of at Least 50 Tumors


This article has been updated from a previous version with additional information.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Broad Institute said this week that they are collaborating to sequence the genomes of at least 50 tumors from multiple myeloma patients.

The project is part of the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative, which MMRF, the Broad Institute, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona started three years ago.

An MMRF spokesperson told In Sequence that the foundation has invested close to $10 million in the initiative and an associated tissue bank. Its aim is to study 250 myeloma patient samples, collected by the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium Tissue Bank, by a variety of genomic techniques, including array comparative genomic hybridization, gene expression profiling, and, now, whole-genome sequencing.

Initially, the researchers plan to sequence the genomes of 50 samples, according to the spokesperson. Later, they will validate the "most relevant targets of genetic changes" by sequencing them in the remaining 200 samples, or more. Data resulting from the collaboration will be put in the public domain.

The aim of the effort, described as a "pilot project in whole cancer genome sequencing," is "not only to advance clinical progress for multiple myeloma, but to build knowledge and technical capabilities that can be applied to many other human cancers," said Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute, in a statement.

Sequencing of the first samples is already underway, according to the MMRF spokesperson, and the partners expect to have initial results by the end of the year, "if not sooner."

A Broad Institute spokesperson told In Sequence that the researchers are still evaluating technologies for the project but plan to use "one of the next-generation technologies" to sequence the samples.

At the Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory earlier this month, Gad Getz, a Broad researcher, said in a talk that the institute has been analyzing a variety of cancer types by second-generation sequencing, including whole-genome, exon, and transcriptome sequencing.

Among other projects, the institute has sequenced a glioblastoma, a chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and two ovarian cancer samples and their respective controls by whole-genome sequencing (see In Sequence 5/12/2009).

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