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M. D. Anderson team chosen to help navigate Cancer Genome Atlas
Date:10/7/2009

HOUSTON -- The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) will fund an effort by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center to siphon buckets of meaningful information from an ocean of data about the aberrant genetics that drive human cancers.

"Analysis and interpretation of genetic data from tumor samples is a major bottleneck to progress in understanding and treating cancer," said the project's lead principal investigator John Weinstein, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson's Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, as well as professor in the Department of Systems Biology.

The five-year $8.3 million grant from the TCGA will allow Weinstein and colleagues to put new computational tools to work parsing the multiple genetic pathways that fuel more than 20 types of cancer. The team proposes a more flexible and efficient approach to wringing information from overwhelming quantities of data researchers generate about gene expression and variation in tumors.

"The bottom line is personalizing cancer medicine. If we can generate molecular portraits of these cancers, we will be better able to choose the right therapy for each patient," Weinstein noted. "And it also will improve cancer risk assessment, early diagnosis, prognosis and assessment of the likelihood of recurrence."

The M. D. Anderson group is a new Genome Data Analysis Center of the TCGA, which is a joint enterprise of the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, both of the National Institutes of Health. The grant is part of the expansion of TCGA, after a pilot project focused on glioblastoma, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

Co-leaders of the project are Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson's Department of Systems Biology, and W. K. Alfred Yung, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neuro-Oncology. "They will provide extraordinary expertise in the sys
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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