11 July 2011

ICGC releases new genomic data on cancer ahead of schedule

ICGC genomic data release exceeds expected levels in its decade-long programme to generate high-quality sequence for 25,000 tumours

Cancer genome data is available on more than 2,800 tumours at www.icgc.org.

Cancer genome data is available on more than 2,800 tumours at www.icgc.org. The sequence information on 25,000 tumours is being collected around the world in 40 projects focused on the bladder, blood, bone, brain, breast, cervix, colon, head and neck, kidney, liver, lung, oral cavity, ovary, pancreas, prostate, rectum, skin, soft tissues, stomach, and uterus.

The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) today announced its sixth major data release at a meeting in Kyoto, Japan. The ICGC also announced that it is ahead of schedule in its decade-long programme to generate high-quality genomic data on more than 25,000 tumours for up to 50 types of cancer that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe.

"These new and updated datasets will help researchers better understand what drives cancer, which in turn should help develop new insights into how to tackle this terrible disease. Ultimately, this will lead to new, more personalized treatments that will improve patient care," said Dr Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and one of the founders of the ICGC. "As a result, these datasets are an important contribution not just to the ICGC but to the cancer research community worldwide."

The ICGC, comprised of research organizations around the world, is committed to making data rapidly and freely available. Cancer genome data is available on more than 2,800 tumours through an Internet portal at www.icgc.org.

The data include new submissions to the ICGC from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) in the United States, which has contributed information on about 10 types of cancer affecting the blood, brain, colon, kidney, lung, ovaries, rectum, and uterus, including data from a study of 500 ovarian cancer patients published in the journal Nature on June 30.

The National Cancer Centre/RIKEN in Japan has updated its whole genome data on 27 liver cancers, which includes the first whole genome sequence data of HCV-positive HCC (hepatitis C virus-positive hepatocelluar carcinoma) published in Nature Genetics on April 17. Researchers from Spain have provided complete genome sequences for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). The Spanish team described recurrent mutations in CLL in a publication in Nature on June 5. The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada has updated its data on pancreatic cancer. The ICGC data portal also includes information on breast, lung, and skin cancer provided by researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom.

More than 140 ICGC researchers are meeting at the first ICGC Workshop to be held in Asia. From July 10 to 12, the researchers meeting in Kyoto will discuss what has been discovered so far and to develop strategies for the future direction of the Consortium. Dr Harold Varmus, Nobel laureate, is presenting a plenary lecture at this Workshop.

"These new and updated datasets will help researchers better understand what drives cancer, which in turn should help develop new insights into how to tackle this terrible disease"

Dr Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

"The relationship between the United States' TCGA initiative and the ICGC project is synergistic and will make major progress toward understanding the genetic underpinnings of more than 30 types of human cancer," said Harold Varmus, MD, Director of the US National Cancer Institute. "An international commitment, both financially and intellectually, to an understanding of how human cancers occur across different populations will mean important progress for global health."

Although some projects targeting specific forms of cancer are already at the data generation stage, many of the 40 active projects are in their initial stages and are focused on obtaining patient consent and collecting 500 or more tumours of a specific form of cancer. The Consortium has proven to be very effective in generating guidelines and sharing knowledge to accelerate both existing and new projects in meeting their objectives.

The ICGC, which was formally launched in November 2008, continues to grow and attract new member projects. There currently are 40 projects under way targeting the bladder, blood, bone, brain, breast, cervix, colon, head and neck, kidney, liver, lung, oral cavity, ovary, pancreas, prostate, rectum, skin, soft tissues, stomach, and uterus.

The ICGC

Current ICGC funding member organizations include:

  • Australia - National Health & Medical Research Council; Cancer Council New South Wales; Garvan Institute of Medical Research; Queensland State Government; Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland
  • Canada - Canada Foundation for Innovation; Genome Canada; Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation; Prostate Cancer Canada
  • China - Chinese Cancer Genome Consortium; Ministry of Science and Technology; National High Technology Research and Development Program ("863" Program) of China; Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (Observer Status)
  • European Union - European Commission
  • France - Institut National du Cancer (INCa)
  • Germany - Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); German Cancer Aid (DKT)
  • India - Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology
  • Italy - Italian Ministry of Education University and Research; University of Verona
  • Japan - National Cancer Center; National Institute of Biomedical Innovation; RIKEN
  • Mexico - Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud
  • Spain - Institute of Health Carlos III; Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
  • United Kingdom - Bone Cancer Research Trust; Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Cancer Research UK; EuroBoNeT; Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund; Skeletal Cancer Action Trust (Scat); The Wellcome Trust; Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • USA - National Cancer Institute; National Human Genome Research Institute; National Institutes of Health

Access to ICGC data

The ICGC enables free, rapid access to data. Data are available through the ICGC Data Coordination Centre housed in Toronto, Canada and through ICGC data portals in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain and the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics in Australia.

Website

International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC): http://www.icgc.org/

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact:

Japan

Tatsuhiro Shibata - Chief, Division of Cancer Genomics Centre for Medical Genomics, National Cancer Center Research Institute - Telephone: +81-3-3542-2511; Fax: +81-3-3547-5137

Hidewaki Nakagawa - Laboratory Head, Laboratory for Biomarker Development, Centre for Genomic Medicine, RIKEN - Telephone: +81-3-5449-5785; Fax: +81-3-5449-5785

RIKEN - Global Relations Office - Telephone: +81-48-462-1225; Fax: +81-48-463-3687; Email: koho@riken.jp

National Cancer Center - Public Relations - Telephone: +81-3-3542-2511; Fax: +81-3-3542-2545

National Institute of Biomedical Innovation - Department of Research and Development Promotion, Research Promotion Section - Telephone: +81-72-641-9803; Fax: +81-72-641-9831

Australia

Carolyn Norrie - National Health & Medical Research Council - Email: nhmrc.media@nhmrc.gov.au; Telephone: +61 2 6217 9190

Canada

Rhea Cohen - Director of Communications, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research - Email: rhea.cohen@oicr.on.ca; Telephone: +01-416-673-6642; Mobile: +01-416-671-2846

Spain

Daniel Mediavilla - Oficina de Prensa, Secretaría de Estado de Investigación, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación - Email: daniel.mediavilla@micinn.es; Telephone: +34 659 995 973

United Kingdom

Mark Thomson - Press Officer, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute - Email: mt9@sanger.ac.uk; Telephone: +44 (0) 1223 492385

USA

Michael J. Miller - Senior Science Writer, NCI Office of Media Relations - Email: millermi@mail.nih.gov; Telephone: (301) 402-6153

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which receives the majority of its funding from the Wellcome Trust, was founded in 1992. The Institute is responsible for the completion of the sequence of approximately one-third of the human genome as well as genomes of model organisms and more than 90 pathogen genomes. In October 2006, new funding was awarded by the Wellcome Trust to exploit the wealth of genome data now available to answer important questions about health and disease.

Websites

The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.

Website

Contact the Press Office

Don Powell Media and Public Relations Manager
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambs, CB10 1SA, UK

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 928
Mobile +44 (0)7753 775 397
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Email press.office@sanger.ac.uk

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