An international team has completed the most extensive cancer genome-wide analysis to date, helping to deepen researchers’ understanding of cancer and pave the way for more efficient treatments, the Wellcome Foundation’s Sanger Institute announced Friday. The project, known as the Pan-Cancer Project, was carried out by more than 1,300 scientists from 37 countries to study the genes that can cause cancer and map the full picture of those genes, one of the sanger institute’s main members.
The team analyzed 2,658 whole genomes of 38 different types of tumors and obtained rich genetic data for cancer research. The results were published in the journal Nature and the sub-journal in more than 20 series of reports on the same day.
Based on this data, the team identified the causes of some cancers, identified some of the events that could trigger cancer, and gained a clearer picture of the mechanisms in which tumors grow. Combining the analysis tools with this data, the team was able to analyze genetic variations in a certain cancer and the processes that produce them.
The sanger institute says the patterns of genetic variation presented in the analysis help researchers pinpoint the type of tumor, and that in the future the data could help doctors better diagnose cancer and tailor appropriate treatments for patients, as some types of cancer are not currently available using traditional clinical testing techniques.
Peter Campbell of the Sanger Institute, a leading member of the program, said each patient’s cancer genome is unique, but their repeated patterns of change are limited, so with a large enough analysis, “we can identify all of these patterns to optimize diagnosis and treatment.”