BGI Tech, START to collaborate on cancer genome initiative

Organizations to work on the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project

Kelsey Kaustinen
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—BGI Tech Solutions Co., LTD, a subsidiaryof genomics research organization BGI, and South Texas Accelerated ResearchTherapeutics (START) have announced that they will collaborate on the SanAntonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project (SA1kCGP), a cancer genome study thatintends to link the genetic alterations particular to different cancers withdetailed clinical outcomes. All the data resulting from this collaboration willbe made publicly available to researchers worldwide, free of charge.
 
 
"We are excited to be collaborating with START on thisextremely important, fundamentally different cancer genomic research," YingruiLi, CEO of BGI Tech, said in a press release. "With SA1kCGP's world-class teamof physicians and researchers, the leadership of START's Dr. Tony Tolcher andthe scope and size of the project, we expect SA1kCGP to accelerate thedevelopment of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. SA1kCGP is unique as aprivately funded project strategically structured to generate correlated, usefuland accessible clinical and genomic cancer data that could lead to beneficial,targeted cancer treatments."
 
 
At present, the SA1kCGP is performing whole-genomesequencing on cancerous and normal tissue and blood samples from patients withone of 10 cancers. Under this collaboration, BGI Tech will providenext-generation high-throughput genomic sequencing to identify mutations linkedto certain cancers. BGI Tech will also gather, analyze and archive at BGI allgenetic and clinical data generated through the sequencing and clinicalanalyses. START will be in charge of handling patient recruitment, tumor sampleacquisition and collection of patient information.
 
SA1kCGP was launched in 2012 by START, and since then, theinitiative has exceeded its original goal of collecting samples from 1,000patients. To date, 1,200 patients have now agreed, to have their tumor tissuessampled and allow for their tumors to be transplanted into mouse models so thatresearchers can target genetic mutations. The initiative's budget is $5million, with roughly $1 million raised to date through community donations.SA1kCGP now plans to sequence the cancer genomes of 10,000 patients for afraction of the cost of other large-scale cancer genome projects. Thisundertaking brings together more than 200 cancer surgeons, pathologists,researchers and oncologists from hospitals in the San Antonio area, themajority of which work at community-based facilities where 90 percent of cancercare and clinical studies take place.
 
"Teaming with BGI Tech, with its broad array of sequencingtechnologies, deep bioinformatics expertise and extensive throughput capacity,will advance SA1kCGP to a whole new level," Dr. Anthony W. Tolcher, clinicaldirector for START, commented in a statement. "As a privately funded effort,SA1kCGP depends upon the shared vision and commitment of community-baseddonors, and the profound role BGI will play in the project further elevates thepotential benefits that can be achieved for cancer patients through these generouscontributions."
 
 
SOURCE: BGI Tech press release


Kelsey Kaustinen

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