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Statement from the NIH on cancer genetics findings at Johns Hopkins University

. "As TCGA is launched and reaches full production, it will significantly and rapidly expand the amount and types of genetic information revealed about cancer. We anticipate that as TCGA scales up, we may be able to identify the majority of genetic changes that cause the most important and common forms of the major cancers. In fact, the large number of mutations reported in this paper offers a glimpse of what is yet to come and provides exciting new directions for drug discovery in breast and colon cancer."

"There are already a few excellent examples where the discovery of specific genetic changes has led to the development of effective, targeted treatments for cancer," said NCI Deputy Director Anna D. Barker, Ph.D. "Drugs such as Herceptin for breast cancer and Gleevec for chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors have offered proof of concept that this is a high-value strategy. The report from the team at Johns Hopkins is very promising--both for TCGA and for this approach to drug discovery. Maximizing the numbers of targets available for drug development in a specific cancer means that patients will ultimately receive more personalized, less toxic therapies."

NIH will announce two major milestones in the development of The Cancer Genome Atlas pilot project in the next week.


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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
7-Sep-2006


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