About the International Cancer Genome Consortium

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Following the provision of the reference human genome sequence, the potential for using systematic genome wide screens for the understanding of cancer biology prompted a number of groups around the world to embark on efforts at comprehensive genomic characterization of tumors. The advent of new sequencing technologies has made implementation of this approach on a large scale a realistic possibility in the near future. Therefore, cancer and genomic researchers and funding agency representatives from 22 countries gathered in Toronto, Canada in October 2007 to discuss strategies to accelerate the comprehensive study of cancer genomes. Attendees agreed that genomic technologies are approaching the stage at which cancer genome analysis will be feasible on a comprehensive and high-throughput scale. Meeting participants enthusiastically endorsed the launching of an international consortium to globally pursue this goal in a coordinated manner.

Thus in November 2008 the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was born as an international platform for collaboration, coordination and scientific-technological support in the field of medical research and cancer genomics. This Consortium has been organized to launch and coordinate a large number of research projects that have the common aim of elucidating comprehensively the genomic changes present in many forms of cancers that contribute to the burden of disease in people throughout the world.

The primary goals of the ICGC are:

  • to generate comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities (somatic mutations, abnormal expression of genes, epigenetic modifications) in tumors from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes which are of clinical and societal importance across the globe,
  • to make the data available to the entire research community as rapidly as possible, and with minimal restrictions,
  • to accelerate research into the causes and control of cancer.

The ICGC will facilitate communication between the members and provide a forum for coordination with the objective of maximizing efficiency among the scientists working to understand, treat, and prevent these diseases.

For further information please visit www.icgc.org