Arizona Biosciences News

IGC launches pioneering gene-expression database


The International Genomics Consortium announced today the launching of its much-anticipated "expO" project to accelerate the fight against cancer by expanding upon the discoveries of the Human Genome Project. The project's first tissue samples were collected today at IGC labs in Scottsdale.

Full Story:

The Phoenix-based International Genomics Consortium announced today the launching of the nation's first public database of standardized, clinically annotated gene- expression data. The project is anticipated to accelerate future development of new, targeted agents for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Through the Expression Project for Oncology (expO), researchers will perform gene expression analyses on tumor and normal tissue samples, then release all data into the public domain without intellectual property restriction. The hoped-for outcome is personalized medicine, more accurate diagnoses, and therapy with greater effectiveness.

The announcement was made at a news conference at the Flinn Foundation. IGC officials presenting included Richard Mallery, chairman; Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., founder; Mike Berens, Ph.D., expO executive director; and Max Poll, board member. Also today, the first tissue samples were collected at IGC labs at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare.

"ExpO represents an important link in the fast-moving world of cancer research," Berens said. "The database is designed to meet a crucial research need—the establishment of a 'common vocabulary' for all cancer researchers."

IGC expects to obtain 2,000-10,000 tumor specimens representing a broad spectrum of patient malignancies and 500 normal tissues over three years. They will be collected from a select group of leading academic and private medical centers across the nation. Currently, 19 are have signed letters of intent to serve as tissue-collection centers.

Among the factors that will set the IGC dataset apart from others:

  • Many more tumors will be sampled.
  • The dataset will be developed using a single analytical process.
  • Significant amounts of data will be provided on treatments given following tumor resection and on patient survival following treatment.

The initial portion of the database is expected to be available by December 2004.

IGC is a nonprofit medical research organization that seeks to revolutionize treatment of complex diseases by building on discoveries of the Human Genomic Project.

For more information:

"$5 million grant may spur Arizona's biotech industry," Arizona Republic, 03/06/2004

"Project seeking cancer samples," Arizona Republic, 03/06/2004

"IGC begins cancer project," Business Journal, 03/05/2004

"International Genomics Consortium news release