The International Genomics Consortium's (IGC) Expression Project for Oncology (expO) has announced that it has collected its 1,000th frozen cancer specimen, which exceeds original expectations for the project while marking a milestone that is recognized by researchers, industry and academia. Gene expression analysis with clinical information on hundreds of these specimens is now publicly available online.
The purpose of expO is to obtain cancer tissue samples under uniform and standardized conditions, perform gene expression analyses, and collect the long-term clinical outcome of the patient. The data is both collected and shared in a way to ensure the protection of patient confidentiality, while still making the "de-identified" information available online for researchers worldwide. Open and free access to the data will accelerate genetic discoveries and the development of tests and therapies.
"We overcame many challenges to perform complete gene analyses and to have the information freely available online, while also ensuring that we had addressed key issues of patient privacy and consent is a major step forward," said Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of expO and Chief Medical Officer of IGC. "Going from zero to 1,000 tumor samples in 16 months was also a considerable feat."
IGC has established a standardization system for obtaining and processing these tumor samples. This standardization of the collection, analysis, and vocabularies will help accelerate future development of new, targeted cancer treatments.
Tissue collection and data dissemination is conducted in a manner that fully protects patient privacy. Over a three-year period, IGC expects to obtain 2,000 to 3,000 tumor specimens representing a broad spectrum of malignancies and 500-1,000 normal tissues. The project is well on its way to meeting this goal. So far, IGC has collected a total of 5,083 biospecimens including frozen biosamples and paraffin tissue blocks containing normal, paranormal and malignant tissue and peripheral blood samples.
"What IGC has accomplished in terms of the expO project could potentially accelerate cancer research," said Franklyn G. Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Medical School. "This publicly available database provides researchers with access to a vast amount of useful cancer information that will ultimately help the community advance its search for new treatments for this devastating disease."
The success of this national philanthropic initiative is due in part to the leadership, vision, and financial support of GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Wyeth pharmaceuticals.
"The expO database illustrates how industry can partner with academia, hospitals, and non-profit medical research organizations to create a freely available resource that will promote and accelerate discovery.," said Nicholas C. Dracopoli, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Discovery Technologies at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The clinically annotated dataset is available in the public domain through the National Center for Biotechnology Information web site at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/.
The International Genomics Consortium (IGC) is a non-profit medical research foundation established to expand upon the discoveries of the Human Genome Project and other systematic sequencing efforts by combining world-class genomic research, bioinformatics, and diagnostic technologies in the fight against cancer and other complex genetic diseases. IGC is a sister institute to the Translational Genomics Research Institute. IGC serves numerous common, unmet needs including: the standardization of the collection of properly consented tissues of interest, the molecular characterization of these tissues, and standardization in the representation of these results. IGC facilitates the transition of genomic discoveries to improve patient care and increase the speed in which new diagnostic, prognostic and predictive testing, and new drug and treatment regimens are developed. For more information, visit www.intgen.org.
The mission of Expression Project for Oncology (expO) is to build on the technologies and outcomes of the Human Genome Project to accelerate improved clinical management of cancer patients. In cancer research, IGC's expO seeks to integrate longitudinal clinical annotation with gene expression data for a unique and powerful portrait of human malignancies, providing critical perspective on diagnostic markers, prognostic indicators, and therapeutic targets. Follow-on studies will generate an evolving database of cancer that accommodates complimentary and multidisciplinary assessments of the disease. The IGC databases will be publicly available portals into the new era of molecularly prescribed medicine.
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research. For more information visit www.tgen.org.
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