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Cancer consortium releases data on more than 10,000 cancer genomes

Feb. 4, 2014 - The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) today announced 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.

February 4, 2014  By Canada News Wire

"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

"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 Feb. 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.

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 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 light.

"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.

"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."

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