ICGC launches four new projects in China

TORONTO, Dec. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) today announced four new projects in China to identify the genomic drivers in colorectal, esophageal, liver and nasopharyngeal cancers, helping lay the foundation for developing treatments tailored to patients' individual needs. China is a founding member of the ICGC, having launched a gastric cancer project in 2008.

The Consortium leads worldwide efforts to map the genomes of both common and rare cancers and has the goal of identifying cancer-causing mutations in more than 25,000 tumours representing more than 50 types of cancer of clinical and societal importance across the globe.

The Chinese Cancer Genome Consortium's collaborative projects span a network of more than 200 researchers with expertise in next-generation genetic sequencing and have the bioinformatics skills to uncover the complex causes of cancer. Investigators for the four new projects are distributed among 20 hospitals and institutes (listed below) in 13 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.

The new projects emphasize cancer types that are more common in China than the rest of the world. Examples are gastric cancer, esophageal and liver cancers, which occur more than twice as often in China as the rest of the world. Nasopharyngeal cancers occur 70 per cent more often in China.

Dr. Xuetao Cao and Dr. Xuemin Zhang will oversee the four new projects which will be scientifically steered by Dr. Youyong Lu and Dr. Huanming Yang. Dr. Xiuqing Zhang will coordinate the projects in collaboration with prominent scientists from universities/institutes and medical centers in China.

Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China, implicated in nearly a quarter of all deaths countrywide, and the incidence of cancer in China has been increasingly rapidly. Currently, about 2.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually and 1.9 million patients die of the disease. The significant investment in cancer genomics in China will enable researchers to mine genetic and lifestyle differences between Caucasian and Asian cancer patients. Comparisons will be possible with current ICGC projects in esophageal, liver and colorectal cancers led by teams in France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

"It is our great pleasure to solidify China's important role in the ICGC. We believe that more genomic data from Asian cancer patients will augment the work of existing ICGC cancer projects and promote progress toward making cancer a manageable condition," said Dr. Huanming Yang of the Chinese Cancer Genome Consortium.

"It is thrilling to see cooperation among researchers advancing knowledge in cancer genomics and their collective effort and data driving momentum to improve the health and well-being of patients worldwide," said Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and one of the founders of the ICGC.

As of December 2012, the ICGC has received commitments from funding organizations in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America for 51 project teams in 15 jurisdictions to study more than 25,000 tumor genomes.

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 7,358 tumors through an Internet portal at www.icgc.org. Data are available through the ICGC Data Coordination Center 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.

Each ICGC project team 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.

"Researchers using this data will increase opportunities to deliver more precise diagnostic tests for the clinical management of patients in China and around the world," said Dr. Youyong Lu, Professor and Director, Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital/Institute.

Current ICGC funding member organizations include:

Australia  National Health and Medical Research Council, Cancer Council NSW, 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 Economic Development 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
Germany   Federal Ministry of Education and Research, German Cancer Aid
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
Saudi Arabia  King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre
South Korea  National Center for Cancer Genomics, National Project for Personalized Genomic Medicine, South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare
United Kingdom   Bone Cancer Research Trust, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Cancer Research UK, EuroBoNeT, Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, Skeletal Cancer Action Trust, The Wellcome Trust, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
USA   National Cancer Institute, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health

For more information and updates about ICGC activities, please visit the website at: www.icgc.org.

The following institutes and hospitals are members of the Chinese Cancer Genome Consortium:

Beijing Cancer Hospital / Beijing Institute for Cancer Research
Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Institute of Radiation Medicine, Academy of Military Medical Science
Sun Yat-sen University
Beijing Institute of Heart Lung and Blood Vessel Diseases
Chongqing Medical University
Chinese PLA General Hospital
Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai
Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University Kunming Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Medical University
Peking University
Qingdao University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Fourth Military Medical University
Xinxiang Medical College
Xinjiang Medical University
Zhejiang University


SOURCE: International Cancer Genome Consortium

For further information:


Christopher Needles
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