A comprehensive human cancer genome data is released in US for free access by the global scientific community. The amount of information released more than doubles the volume of high-coverage, whole genome data currently available from all human genome sources combined.
This information is valuable not just to cancer researchers, but also to scientists studying almost any disease.
The 520 genome sequences released are matched sets of normal and tumor tissue samples from 260 pediatric cancer patients. The Pediatric Cancer Genome Project is expected to sequence more than 1,200 genomes by year’s end. Each sample is sequenced at a quality control level known as 30-fold coverage, ensuring maximum accuracy.
St. Jude researchers are analyzing the genomic sequences to determine the differences between each child’s normal and cancerous cells to pinpoint the causes of more than a half-dozen of the most deadly childhood cancers, an effort which has already produced a number of key discoveries reported in top scientific journals.
“This effort has generated more discoveries than we thought possible,” said James Downing, M.D., St. Jude scientific director who leads the project at St. Jude. “We want to make this information available to the broader scientific community so that, collectively, we can explore new treatment options for these children. By sharing the information even before we analyze it ourselves, we’re hoping that other researchers can use this rich resource for insights into many other types of diseases in children and adults.”
Launched in early 2010, the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project is the world’s largest effort and investment to date to understand the genetic origins of childhood cancers.
Researchers worldwide will be able to access the sequence data via the Web-based European Genome-Phenome Archive, which provides large datasets for free access by researchers on request: www.ebi.ac.uk/ega/organisations/EGAO00000000046.
Source: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA