The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA): Program Overview

There are at least 200 forms of cancer, and many more subtypes. Each of these is caused by errors in DNA that cause cells to grow uncontrolled. Identifying the changes in each cancer’s complete set of DNA – its genome – and understanding how such changes interact to drive the disease will lay the foundation for improving cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) began as a three-year pilot in 2006 with an investment of $50 million each from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The TCGA pilot project confirmed that an atlas of changes could be created for specific cancer types.

It also showed that a national network of research and technology teams working on distinct but related projects could pool the results of their efforts, create an economy of scale and develop an infrastructure for making the data publicly accessible. Importantly, it proved that making the data freely available would enable researchers anywhere around the world to make and validate important discoveries. The success of the pilot led the National Institutes of Health to commit major resources to TCGA to collect and characterize……..

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