Gene expression microarrays have been used in numerous applications, including identifying novel genes associated with certain cancers, classifying tumors, and predicting patient outcome. Another NCI-funded study recently demonstrated that microarray analysis of identical tissue samples at geographically separate laboratories can produce the same quality of results as those done within a single lab**. The normal organ database takes that one step further, enabling scientists and clinicians to compare the gene expression results for their own tissue or genes of interest to a baseline standard that represents a generic picture of normal gene activity, organ by organ, in the human body. Users of the array on the new NCI web site (http://home.ccr.cancer.gov/oncology/oncogenomics/) will find expression profiles for 18,927 genes, which include most of the genes that are known to help direct basic activities of the human body.
Recently the Human Genome Project revealed a surprisingly low number of human genes (20,000-25,000), and Khan said it had been previously reported that "only a fraction of that, perhaps 10,000 genes, are actively transcribed in normal cell processes." Thus it becomes strategically useful to characterize this essential backdrop. "The normal organ database provides a platform that may help scientists find new targets in the cells of previously incurable cancers. The driving force of research in our section is to translate genomic information to the clinic. The goal is to save lives and improve the quality of life for children with high-risk cancer."
Until now, no publicly available, normal human organ database has us