The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) was launched by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute in December 2005. TCGA is a comprehensive and coordinated effort to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, including large-scale genome sequencing. TCGA will begin with a pilot project to determine the feasibility of a full-scale effort to systematically explore the universe of genomic changes involved in all types of human cancer, starting with lung, ovarian, and breast cancer.
caBIG« is designated as the information infrastructure for TCGA, serving in multiple ways to enable the collection, analysis, and dissemination of critical data from the project as well as to facilitate coordination among the hundreds of collaborating scientists from government, academia, and the private sector who will participate.
The role of caBIG« will include the following:
- There will be multiple laboratories at work in TCGA, and their resources will be distributed among multiple institutions. caBIG« will enable these laboratories to be coordinated in terms of their data standards, their IT systems, and the ability of those systems to inter-operate.
- The program components of TCGA—the Sequencing Centers and the Characterization Centers—will generate huge amounts of data. These data will be produced in a standardized, caBIG«-compatible form.
- The Biospecimen Core, which will provide the thousands of samples needed for the sequencing and characterization activities, may rely on caBIG«-developed software applications, such as the suite of programs known as caTISSUE to collect, process, annotate, archive, and disseminate biospecimens. If other applications are selected, they must be compatible with caBIG« data standards.
- The Data Coordinating Center that will host and manage all TCGA data may also apply caBIG«-developed applications, including caArray and caBIO, along with analysis tools such as geWorkbench and Gene Pattern.
Outside The Cancer Genome Atlas project, there are thousands of scientists who will need to access this steady stream of data to inform and catalyze their studies.
caBIG« will permit the scientific community to understand and access TCGA data with standardized terminology and interoperable systems.