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DKFZ, GATC Biotech To Sequence Pediatric Brain Tumors as Part of German ICGC Effort

a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) —The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and GATC Biotech are collaborating to sequence children's brain tumors for a project being done within the International Cancer Genome Consortium, GATC Biotech announced today.

Members of the PedBrainTumor Consortium plan to sequence DNA from matched tumor-normal samples to about 30 times coverage with the aim of uncovering the genetic underpinnings of pediatric brain cancer. In the process, they hope to find clues for improving pediatric cancer treatments and diagnostics.

"Brain tumors are the main cause of cancer deaths in childhood. Therapies with few side effects are urgently required to make it easier for the children to bear the taxing treatment," German ICGC group leader Peter Lichter, a molecular genetics researcher at DKFZ, said in a statement. "The PedBrainTumor Project will bring us a great deal further forward in the development of such therapies."

GATC Biotech is using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 and other technologies to perform the sequencing for the project. The European sequencing and bioinformatics service company plans to supply data to the DKFZ, which is managing the project, sometime this fall. GATC Biotech currently has 15 sequencing instruments, including HiSeq 2000, Illumina GAIIx, Roche 454 GS FLX, and ABI 3730xl platforms.

The number of pediatric brain cancers being sequenced by the PedBrainTumor Consortium has not been released but is on the order of a couple of dozen, according to Elke Decker, director of strategic marketing and corporate communication for GATC Biotech. Samples for the project are being provided by DKFZ.

The German arm of the ICGC effort has reportedly secured €15 million ($18.5) from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and German Cancer Aid to support the project for five years.

Earlier this year, Washington University and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced their own pediatric cancer genome sequencing project, aimed at sequencing more than 600 pediatric cancer genomes over three years to find genetic and epigenetic patterns in these cancers.

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