|NIH Announces Two Integral Components of The
Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome
Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), today announced another two of the components
of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Pilot Project, a three-year,
$100 million collaboration to test the feasibility of using large-scale
genome analysis technologies to identify important genetic changes
involved in cancer. Lung, brain (glioblastoma), and ovarian cancers
have been chosen as the tumors for study by TCGA Pilot Project.
Awards have been made to seven institutions in five states to
establish Cancer Genome Characterization Centers (CGCCs). The Cancer
Genome Characterization Centers will work as a network, with each
center using advanced genome analysis technologies to identify
major changes in the genomes of the cancers chosen for TCGA pilot
program. NCI awarded a total of $11.7 million per year to support
the CGCCs. The institutions receiving CGCC awards are:
- Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass. Using
the Affymetrix platform, this center will identify changes in
expression and copy number alterations that occur in cancer.
- Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston,
Mass. Using the Agilent platform, this center will characterize
tumor samples for alterations in chromosome segments copy number.
This center will also develop new technologies to analyze expression
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. Using
an Affymetrix Exon 1.0 array platform, this center will identify
changes in the transcription profiles that occur in cancer.
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y. Using
Agilent arrays, this center will provide characterization of
chromosome segment gains and losses. This center will also develop
new approaches to detect novel genetic rearrangements.
- The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
University, Baltimore, Md. This is a joint project with the University
of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to
detect changes in methylation profiles associated with transcribed
genes in cancer samples.
- Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif. This
center will use high-throughput whole-genome genotyping technology
to identify chromosome segments copy number variation found in
- University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer
Center, Chapel Hill, N.C. Using an Agilent array platform, this
center will identify changes in the transcription profiles that
occur in cancer.
Additionally, SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va., has been
selected to develop the Data Coordinating Center (DCC) for the
TCGA Pilot Project. The DCC will track data produced by components
of TCGA, ensuring that this data meets quality standards set for
the project, and make TCGA data publicly accessible through databases
supported by NCI’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG™)
and the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology
Information (NCBI). The DCC will establish public data resources
that scientists can use in their research to generate new insights
into the causes and potential targets for interventions in cancer.
Access to all TCGA data will be provided in a manner that meets
the highest standards for protection and respect of the research
TCGA was launched in December 2005. When fully operational, it
will consist of four integrated components: the CGCCs and DCC announced
today, as well as the Biospecimen Core Resource (BCR) announced
last month, and the Genome Sequencing Centers, which will be selected
in the coming months.
“We are, today, gaining new insights into the genetic changes
that accumulate over a lifetime and are associated with malignancy,” said
NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D. “TCGA holds the potential
to help turn what we know into what we can harness — to be
able to study changes in a patient’s genetic sequence over time
and then use that information to design highly targeted, individually
“TCGA will analyze genomic changes in lung, brain, and ovarian
cancers with a goal of identifying all alterations in genes for
these three tumors — especially those that can serve to differentiate
cancer subtypes. The Cancer Genome Characterization Centers will
identify genomic aberrations, such as copy number changes and/or
chromosomal translocations that will enable the development of
targeted diagnostics and therapies for cancer patients, and provide
a path to more personalized cancer medicine,” said NCI Deputy Director
for Advanced Technologies and Strategic Partnerships, Anna D. Barker,
“The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project will generate large quantities
of data that will require an immense amount of expertise and coordination,” said
NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The Data Coordinating
Center is an essential component of The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot
Project and will help researchers take advantage of the molecular
information describing the genomic changes in the cancers studied.
The integration of these data will enable individual researchers
throughout the world to discover new cancer targets and inform
the design of a new generation of cancer drugs.”
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.
For more details about The Cancer Genome Atlas, please visit http://cancergenome.nih.gov.
For more information about cancer and the National Cancer
Institute, please visit the NCI Web site at http://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 http://www.genome.gov.
For information about caBI , please visit http://www.cancer.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — 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 information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.