Lab Canada

International cancer genome consortium will link genomics to clinical data

New Orleans, LA – The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has announced plans to launch the International Cancer Genome Consortium for Medicine (ICGCmed), a new phase in the consortium’s evolution that will link genomics to clinical information and health.


The collaborative project will build upon the vast database of genomic discoveries of the ICGC, which, since its launch in 2007, has been mapping 25,000 different cancer genomes in 50 different tumour types and making this data freely available to qualified researchers around the world.


By linking the ICGC data with clinical information, ICGCmed aims to accelerate the movement of this information into the clinic to guide prevention, early detection, diagnosis and prognosis, and provide the information needed to match patients’ disease to the most effective combinations of therapy. ICGCmed research will apply to a broad spectrum of cancers, from early cancers through to metastases.


“ICGC was a major advance in cataloging a large number of gene alterations from different types of cancers,” said Dr. Fabien Calvo, chief scientific officer, Cancer Core Europe and the lead author of the ICGCmed white paper. “By collecting clinical information from large cohorts of patients that were classified as having the same types of cancer coupled with extensive genomic information, ICGCmed will allow us to determine genetic elements of the efficacy of treatment, and root out the causes of resistance to therapy. Ultimately, this will allow patients to receive the right treatment and for their treatment to be adapted effectively.”


“Collaboration between institutions across the world and open sharing of data with qualified researchers have been two pillars of ICGC’s success to date,” said Dr. Tom Hudson, president and scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and one of the founders of the ICGC. “I am proud to say that ICGCmed will continue the ICGC’s legacy, tapping into the ICGC’s vast catalogue of cancer data and applying it to the clinical setting where it can impact patients.”


“Precision oncology has opened a new avenue for treating cancer patients based on DNA sequence data of the respective cancer genome,” said Dr. Peter Lichter, head of the Division of Molecular Genetics at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). “Alterations of the genomic information in tumour cells offer novel treatment options. However, in the day-to-day clinical situation, it would be highly beneficial to know which alterations have already been successfully attacked by which drug and in which tissue context. ICGCmed will align this information worldwide and thereby greatly contribute to a fast translation of genomic information into clinical treatment options.”


“The Ontario government has been proud to support the ICGC in its goal to better understand the genetic origins of cancer,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation. “Our government recognizes the importance of supporting world-class studies and research talent at Ontario’s leading-edge institutions, and we are extremely excited about this next major step forward with the launch of ICGCmed and its potential impact on lives of Ontarians.”


Researchers working with ICGCmed must also agree to share data while also protecting the privacy of study participants.


The original ICGC is slated for completion in 2018.