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UNC awarded Cancer Genome Atlas grant
Date:9/30/2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of twelve centers announced today by President Obama as part of an unprecedented large-scale, collaborative effort by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to systematically characterize the genomic changes that occur in cancer.

The Cancer Genome Atlas Grant (TCGA) is a five-year award, expected to bring $13 to $20 million to UNC, which puts scientists from the university's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and their collaborators across campus at the center of a major push to provide a deeper, more systematic understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells and their spread throughout the body.

According to the NHGRI, the genomic information generated by the project could fuel rapid advances in cancer research including new ways to categorize tumors, new therapeutic targets, and methods that allow clinical trials to focus on patients who are most likely to respond to specific treatments. The project aims to develop a comprehensive catalog of the many genetic and genomic changes that occur in cancers including chromosomal changes, gene expression differences, DNA mutations, and epigenomic changes (changes that happen to DNA but do not change the underlying hereditary information).

"This project represents one of the most ambitious and challenging human genetics efforts to date, only rivaled by its predecessor, the Human Genome Project," said Dr. Charles Perou, associate professor of genetics, and pathology & laboratory medicine.

"The TCGA project takes a comprehensive approach to the study of human cancers and applies multiple cutting-edge technologies to the same large set of tumors. The real power of this project is in the integration of these different genetic data types into a common framework that should provide a much more complete picture of why
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Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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