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International Cancer Genome Consortium Releases Data from Thousands of Cancer Genomes

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The International Cancer Genome Consortium today announced it has made data from more than 10,000 cancer genomes available to the research community.

The data, ICGC said, can be used to elucidate the genomic basis of cancer, accelerate research, and develop more targeted therapies.

In an e-mail to GenomeWeb Daily News, Lincoln Stein, director of the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research's Informatics and Bio-Computing Program, said that about 500 terabytes of interpreted and raw data are being released.

"We have identified and released the differences between the tumor and normal genomes: a series of genes that mutated during the evolution from normal to cancerous tissue," said Stein, who also is director ICGC's Data Coordination Centre, housed in Toronto. Along with genomic data, transcriptomic and epigenomic data are being released.

Also being made available are the clinical characteristics of each donor to the ICGC project, functional data about the tumors such as RNA expression patterns, and the raw sequencing data.

"There are a total of 3,935,558 such mutations now available to the world research community to ask questions relating to cancer pathways, tumor types and subtypes, and the correlations between patterns of mutations and the clinical behavior of the tumors," Stein said.

OICR is one of many organizations providing funding for ICGC, and researchers from the institute participate in studies being conducted as part of the effort. The consortium's work, ICGC said, has demonstrated that mutation rates vary by 1,000-fold across cancer types, while many cancers have a combination of different mutational patterns, including some linked to known mutagens, such as smoking and UV light.

According to ICGC's website, it has 71 committed cancer genome projects ongoing.