Broad Institute and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will become the flagship data-production centers for a pioneering five-year project supported by the National Cancer Institute to characterize the genomic changes found in tumors. GCC funding comes via a research subcontract with Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., operations and technical support contractor for NCI's Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.
As part of the NCI effort the Broad Institute will sequence patient tumors to accelerate the development of effective treatments to fight the disease.
"Since 2004, the Broad Institute has been an international leader in large-scale genomic analysis, and this new initiative is a tremendous opportunity to apply our knowledge and know-how to further reveal the genomic landscape of cancer," said Stacey Gabriel, senior director of the Broad Institute Genomics Platform and principal investigator on the project. "Together with the NCI, we will provide the cancer research community the resources needed to apply the latest genomic characterization technologies to important NCI studies that will ultimately combine genomic and clinical information within patient cohorts."
The Broad Institute has extensive experience and demonstrated success in data generation and the analysis of cancer genomics. From 2006 to 2014, the Broad Institute was the leading contributor to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a joint project between the National Human Genome Research Institute and the NCI aimed at identifying the mutations that underlie different cancers. In addition to providing the majority of the sequencing data, the Broad Institute oversaw three pivotal TCGA research centers: the Genome Sequencing Center, one of six Genome Characterization Centers, and one of six Genome Data Analysis Centers. To date, data generated by the TCGA effort has helped identify nearly 10 million mutations in tumors.
Beyond cancer, the Broad Institute has served as a flagship center for the genetic and molecular analysis of numerous common diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Along with its expertise in large-scale sequencing projects, the Broad Institute has helped pioneer new techniques to generate high-quality data on challenging sample types, such as those with limited material and with Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded, or FFPE specimens. The Genomics Platform of the Broad Institute will leverage these capabilities as part of the GCC effort, which requires a diverse sample set to enable the collection of large tumor cohorts.
"I am glad to have the Broad Institute as an integral partner of the NCI large-scale genomic programs," said Jean C. ZenKlusen, Ph.D., Director of NCI's Cancer Genome Atlas. "They have demonstrated the ability to produce the highest-quality data in their participation on The Cancer Genome Atlas, and I know they will bring the same level of performance to these new initiatives."