- Recently, The Ministry of Science & Technology has inaugurated the 2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) 2020 Conference.
About The Cancer Genome Atlas
- A landmark project started in 2005 by the US-based National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
- The idea was to make a catalogue of the genetic mutations that cause cancer.
- This meant collecting tumour samples and blood samples (known as the germline) from patients and processing them using gene sequencing and bioinformatics.
- The TCGA is a continuing effort even after fifteen years and has generated over 2.5 petabytes of data for over 11,000 patients.
- This data is available to researchers all around the world and has been used to develop new approaches to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.
Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA)
- On similar lines, the establishment of an ICGA has been initiated by a consortium of key stakeholders in India led by CSIR in which several government agencies, cancer hospitals, academic institutions and private sector partners.
- It is aimed at improving clinical outcomes in cancer and other chronic diseases.
Need of the Atlas
- Diverse molecular mechanisms- including genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to cancer, posing significant challenges to treatment.
- Therefore, it is necessary to better understand the underlying factors- patient by patient.
- In this context, it is important to create an indigenous, open-source and comprehensive database of molecular profiles of all cancer prevalent in Indian population.