Explained:Why cancer gene map matters

News:Recently,a Pan-Cancer Project involving 1,300 scientists has completed a decade-long project to map the many gene mutations that drive cancer’s development.


About Pan Cancer Project:

  • The project also called Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) is an international collaboration of the International Cancer Genome Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas(TCGA).
  • The project revealed the most comprehensive gene map of the genes whose departures from normal behaviour — mutations — trigger a cascade of genetic misbehaviours that eventually lead to cancer.

Key takeaways from the project:

  • It found that on average, people’s cancers contain between four and five fundamental mutations that drive a cancer’s growth.
  • However, around 5% of cancers appeared to have no driver mutations at all showing there is still more work to do.

Additional information:

About International Cancer Genome Consortium:

  • The International Cancer Genome Consortium(ICGC) is a voluntary scientific organization established in 2007.
  • It coordinates a large number of research projects to unravel the genomic changes present in many forms of cancer that contribute to the burden of disease in people throughout the world.

Mutation:It is any change that occurs in the DNA sequence of a cell.It may be caused by mistakes during cell division or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.