Cancer and genes: giant strides with the International Corsortium Genome
The International Consortium on the cancer genome (ICGC), launched in 2008, has set a goal of sequencing the genome in five years full of 25,000 tumors, says an article published in the journal Nature. Several countries are involved in this effort: Germany, Australia, Canada, China, Spain, the United States, France, India Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. The consortium hopes to eventually facilitate the development of treatments tailored to each person with cancer.
The first complete sequencing of human genome was published in 2004 and to date, only 25 have been published.
In two years the consortium has already identified hundreds of gene abnormalities. Released this week for the first time, these data were made freely available to researchers worldwide.
Each tumor bears the traces of genetic mutations and recombinations, some of its own. “To identify these genes, we have previously microarray capable of analyzing a million markers, says Fabien Calvo, director of research at the National Cancer Institute (INCA) and the representative of France in the ICGC. We went to full genome sequencing, or reading, for each tumor, 3 billion base pairs of DNA.
“The ability to detect genetic changes associated with cancer led to new avenues for developing treatments based on the cellular mechanisms underlying cancer and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for each patient. We arrived at a time where prescriptions cancer treatment should be based on the genetics of each patient’s tumor, “said Eric S. Lander of Harvard University.
The ICGC analyze 50 types of cancers. France has chosen to target liver cancer primarily caused by alcohol consumption and breast cancer HER2 + type (15% of breast cancers). Three other types of cancers must still be supported by France. Their selection is underway.
This approach massive “blind” has sometimes been criticized in the medical research community, where some fear a redistribution of funds at the expense of projects to validate biological hypotheses and treatments. The sequencing program is indeed a major effort – five million euros for each of the five cancers analyzed in five years compared to 60 million euros of annual research budget of INCa.