12:50am Thursday 17 October 2019

Scientists combine data from cancer genome with information on disease progression

by Sel

During the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) announced their entering of a new phase: The ICGCmed now combine data from cancer genome with information on disease progression. The objective of this initiative is to make optimal use of the consolidated information for prevention, early detection, diagnostics, prognosis and tailor-made cancer therapies. 

Founded in 2008, the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has now cross-referenced the genetic data of around 18000 cancer patients with approx. 50 different types of cancer. “We found a very high number of gene alterations in various cancer types,” explains Fabien Calvo, Chief Scientific Officer of Cancer Core Europe and main author of the ICGCmed proposal. “We have now determined data from a large number of patients all diagnosed with the same type of cancer. We combined these data with the genome information from cancer cells as well as the individual course of the disease. We hope to be able to find out how genetic alterations influence the response to treatment and emergence of resistance. Our ultimate goal is to be able to offer each patient a personalized therapy for their individual type of disease.”

“The worldwide cooperation of the institutions involved has been excellent and the sharing of data between scientists has been the basis for the ICGC’s success”, says Peter Lichter, one of the founding members of the ICGC and working at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. He goes on to explain: “The ICGCmed will now continue along this successful path, and use all the data acquired for the benefit of patients.

The information that we obtained from the analysis of genetic mutations in cancer cells has opened new paths for precision oncology. It would certainly be extremely useful for those in daily clinical practice to have more information on which medication has already been successful and for which genetic mutations in which type of cancer. It is one of the aims of ICGCmed to gather knowledge across the globe and make a significant contribution to translating this cancer genome information into clinical treatment options.”

Scientists wanting to use the ICGC data have to agree to strict data protection guidelines to safeguard the privacy of patients. The original ICGC project is scheduled for completion in 2018. By then, the genome data of 25000 cancer patients with 50 different cancer types should be available.

The German part of the ICGC was generously supported by German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.


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