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Personalized medicine for cancer patients in a new technology era
Date:4/14/2010

Published online today in Nature, a paper authored by over 200 members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) describes the beginnings of a Brave New World, a new era of personalised medicine for cancer patients.

Formed in 2008, the consortium brings together leading cancer researchers from around the world, working together to catalogue the genetic changes of the 50 most common cancers - 500 genomes from each cancer type and make the results freely available on the internet.

"Given the tremendous potential for relatively low-cost genomic sequencing to reveal clinically useful information, we anticipate that in the not so distant future, partial or full cancer genomes will routinely be sequenced as part of the clinical evaluation of cancer patients," say the authors in the paper.

Their statement is fairly low-key, given the staggering scale of progress over the last couple of decades. The first human genome project, which sequenced half a dozen people, cost 1.5 billion dollars and took 15 years. The same amount of data can now be processed in a week at a fraction of the cost.

"This is already revolutionising the way we do cancer research," said Professor Andrew Biankin, member of the Nature paper's writing team, researcher at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, surgeon at Sydney's Bankstown Hospital and co-leader of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative, the Australian project arm of the ICGC.

"The challenge in the past was to generate information. The challenge now is to manage the volume being generated daily finding ways to interpret, test and apply it appropriately."

"The consortium is providing the global research community with the best possible research tool how to select the next clinical trial. Whole genome sequencing allows us to pinpoint the exact molecular aberrations of each tumour. Understanding the aberrations allows you to target them with dru
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Contact: Alison Heather
a.heather@garvan.org.au
61-292-958-128
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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