Mapping the Cancer Genome

The Cancer Genome Atlas project, which aims to analyze the genomic sequences of cancers, recently started work on its initial project.

In this pilot phase of this project lung, brain and ovarian cancers will be studied. These types of cancers were chosen as the initial cases because specimens of these cancers are relatively simple for researchers to obtain.

Once the specimens are collected, hundreds will be analyzed with multiple technologies, including genome sequencing. Once sequenced, they will be compared to the normal DNA sequence from the same patient to identify changes associated with cancer.

“The Cancer Genome Atlas will use cutting-edge technologies and knowledge from the Human Genome Project and other genomic studies to assess the range of genomic changes that cause the uncontrolled cell growth that characterizes cancer,” explained National Human Genome Research Institute Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute originally launched the project in December 2005 as a three-year pilot project to test the feasibility of using large-scale genome analysis technologies to determine the genomic changes involved in cancer.

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