National Cancer Institute
National Human Genome Research Institute
Bethesda, Md., Monday, July 2, 2007 - As part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today awarded eight two-year grants totaling $3.4 million to support the development of innovative technologies for exploring the genomic underpinnings of cancer.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both part of NIH, announced the TCGA pilot in December 2005 to test the feasibility of a large-scale, systematic approach to identifying the changes that occur in the genomes of cancer cells. The goal is to generate genomic information that the research community can use to develop new and improved strategies for detecting, treating and, ultimately, preventing cancer.
The types of tumors being studied in the pilot include brain cancer (glioblastoma), ovarian cancer and lung cancer (squamous cell), which together account for more than 200,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year.
"In addition to the detailed genomic data it will generate, there is great hope that TCGA will both advance technological development and drive down its cost," said NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D. "Our greatest challenge will be in applying the volumes of information TCGA will provide about tumors to the genomic data NCI is gathering from large cohorts of patients, in order to better predict, and even prevent, the earliest development of cancer."
"Cancer poses a very complex challenge. Each of the dozens of types of cancer likely will have a different genomic profile or set of profiles. We urgently need tools equal to this task," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., whose institute led the NIH component of the Human Genome Project. "One of the major lessons we learned from the Human Genome Project is that technology development is essential for success."
The technology development efforts will influence other key components of the TCGA pilot project: three Genome Sequencing Centers, seven Cancer Genome Characterization Centers, a Data Coordination Center and a Biospecimen Core Resource.
The pilot project will establish a publicly available integrated database that individual researchers can use to study the genomic changes of specific cancers to develop new targets for a new generation of drugs and diagnostics. TCGA data will be made available through public databases supported by NCI's cancer Biomedical Informatics GridTM (caBIGTM) and the National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). TCGA data will be provided in a manner that meets the highest standards for protection and respect of the research participants.
NCI and NHGRI are two of the 27 institutes and centers at NIH, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The National Institutes of Health - "The Nation's Medical Research Agency" - includes 27 institutes and centers, and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more, visit www.nih.gov.
For more details about The Cancer Genome Atlas, please go to http://cancergenome.nih.gov.
For more information about cancer and the National Cancer Institute, please visit the NCI Web site at www.cancer.gov, or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
For more information about the National Human Genome Research Institute, please visit the NHGRI Web site at www.genome.gov.
NCI Office of Media Relations
Last Reviewed: April 4, 2012