TORONTO, Feb. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - The International Cancer Genome Consortium
(ICGC) today announced that it has made available to the scientific
community data from more than 10,000 cancer genomes. The data can be
used by cancer researchers around the world to better understand the
genomic basis of cancer, accelerate cancer research and aid in the
development of more targeted treatments.
"In 2012 an estimated 14 million people around the world were diagnosed
with cancer and 8.2 million people died of the disease, according to
GLOBOCAN. By 2025 it is expected that more than 20 million new cancer
cases per year will be diagnosed due to growth and ageing of the
population," said Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of
the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and a founder of the
ICGC. "There is a clear need for new solutions to the cancer problem.
Better understanding the genomic basis of cancer will lead to better
cancer prevention and control measures, key priorities set out in the
World Cancer Report 2014."
The World Cancer Report 2014 was released on February 3, 2014 in London,
in advance of World Cancer Day. It is published every five years to
provide accessible information on cancer to policy-makers and
healthcare professionals outside of the cancer field. It is also
intended to update cancer specialists on the most recent and important
developments in cancer research and control.
Hudson contributed a chapter to this year's report, where he describes
how cancer can be viewed as a disease of the genome and how mutations
within the genome drive tumor growth. He also explains how these
mutations can vary between people and across different populations
because of genetic diversity and factors such as environmental
exposures and diet. This diversity leads to the many different types
and subtypes of cancer seen today. The chapter also describes how the
ICGC is sequencing more than 25,000 tumor samples to generate a
catalogue of cancer mutations related to 50 types of cancer.
"Ontario's investments have secured our position as a leading
jurisdiction in cancer research," said The Hon. Reza Moridi, Ontario
Minister of Research and Innovation. "This attracts world-leading
researchers — scientists who are improving the lives of people in
Ontario and around the world. The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
has been instrumental in creating important collaborations and enabling
critical progress in moving discoveries out of the lab and into
clinics. Not only does this help patients, it also contributes
significantly to Ontario's innovation economy."
Researchers at OICR have been conducting large-scale cancer genome
studies as part of the ICGC. Global cancer genome projects of the ICGC
have made several important discoveries, including the identification
of many new cancer processes and genes. These studies have shown that
the mutation rates vary by 1,000-fold across cancer types and that
cancers possess a combination of distinct mutational patterns, some of
which are linked to known mutagens such as cigarette smoke and UV
"Cancer is incredibly complex, with significant heterogeneity among
patients, even with tumors of similar characteristics, and there is
significant intra-tumoral heterogeneity that evolves over time and in
response to therapy," said Dr. Lincoln Stein, Director of OICR's
Informatics and Bio-Computing Program and Director of the ICGC's Data
Coordination Centre housed in Toronto, Canada. "There is still a lot to
learn, but we are on the right path and we are making important
advances in our understanding of cancer."
About the International Cancer Genome Consortium.
The ICGC, comprised of research organizations around the world, is
committed to making data rapidly and freely available. Cancer genome
data are available on more than 10,000 tumors through an Internet
portal at www.icgc.org. Each ICGC member project is conducting a
comprehensive, high-resolution analysis of the full range of genomic
changes in at least one specific type or subtype of cancer, with
studies built around common standards of data collection and analysis.
Currently, the ICGC has received commitments from funding organizations
in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America for 71
project teams in 17 jurisdictions to study over 25,000 tumor genomes.
Projects that are currently funded are examining tumors affecting: the
biliary tract, bladder, blood, bone, brain, breast, cervix, colon, eye,
head and neck, kidney, liver, lung, nasopharynx, oral cavity, ovary,
pancreas, prostate, rectum, skin, soft tissues, stomach, thyroid and
uterus. The genomic analyses of tumors conducted by ICGC members in
Australia (ovarian and pancreatic cancer), Canada (pancreatic and
prostate cancer), China (kidney cancer), France (liver and kidney
cancer), Germany (blood, brain and prostate cancer), India (oral
cancer), Japan (liver cancer), Saudi Arabia (thyroid cancer), Spain
(blood cancer), the UK (blood, bone, breast, and esophageal cancer) and
the USA (bladder, blood, brain, breast, cervical, colon, head and neck,
kidney, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, skin,
stomach, thyroid and uterine cancer) are now available through the Data
Coordination Center housed on the ICGC website at www.icgc.org.
For more information and updates about ICGC activities, please visit the
website at: http://www.icgc.org.
SOURCE: International Cancer Genome Consortium
For further information:
Manager, Strategic Communications
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research