New Discoveries for Cancer Risk: Researchers Worldwide Take Part in one of History's Largest Scientific Consortium

  New Discoveries for Cancer Risk: Researchers Worldwide Take Part in one of
                   History's Largest Scientific Consortium

  PR Newswire

  MONTREAL, October 9, 2013

MONTREAL, October 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Hundreds of researchers from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia have
joined together in a consortium to identify the genetic basis of the five most
common forms of cancer - breast, prostate, lung, ovarian and colorectal. The
group, called the OncoArray Consortium, developed a new customized genotyping
tool - the OncoArray - manufactured by the U.S. genomics firm Illumina, Inc.

"The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Genetic Associations and
Mechanisms of Oncology (GAME-ON) initiative has been instrumental in bringing
together multiple consortia and provides primary funding for the OncoArray
Consortium. It allowed us to design a custom array that incorporates some
530,000 markers, which is planned for genotyping on over 425,000 samples from
patients with one of the five types of cancer and control subjects from around
the world. The sheer size of the sample is unprecedented for a study on the
genetic factors involved in cancer. The OncoArray Consortium's work will
provide insight into the inherited genetic basis of cancer and help scientists
understand the underlying biology of cancer," explained Professor Christopher
Amos, Head of Dartmouth's Center for Genomic Medicine, in the US, and the
leader of the Lung Cancer consortium.

This project is a direct extension of the work that has been achieved in
recent years through the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study
(COGS). "The OncoArray will allow us to enhance our current understanding of
the genetic factors associated with the risk of multiple cancers," explained
Cancer Research UK funded Professor Douglas Easton of University of Cambridge
(United Kingdom). "We are proud to be involved in this international
initiative, which will significantly accelerate the pace of discovery and lead
to a greater understanding of a disease that affects one in three people," he

About 200 studies are involved in this project and nearly 50 countries
participate in the consortium.

Breast cancer samples will represent more than one-third of the samples under
analysis. "This is the largest number of samples ever used for research into
the genetic basis of breast cancer risk," noted Université Laval Professor
Jacques Simard, who works at the Genomics Centre of the CHU de Québec Research
Centre, and chair holder of the Canada Research Chair in Oncogenetics. Québec
is at the forefront of this study, since the results will be used for a
Québec-based project aiming to improve the early detection of breast cancer,
an initiative funded by Génome Québec, Genome Canada, the CIHR and the Québec
Breast Cancer Foundation. "The work of Professor Jacques Simard will broaden
our current understanding of this terrible disease, leading to better risk
stratification tools that will increase our ability to deliver better-targeted
screening services to those women at higher risk," said Marc LePage, President
and CEO of Génome Québec.

Leading efforts in prostate cancer are Brian Henderson and Ros Eeles. "The
OncoArray will provide fresh clues to the origin of these cancers and will
hasten novel approaches to prevention and treatment," Dr. Henderson said.
"Every year 220,000 men in the US are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and
there are 30,000 deaths. This indicates many people are being treated who
don't need it. We hope this product will help us focus on the men who have the
highest risk to the more fatal forms of this disease."

"This new research consortium will give us a fantastic opportunity to look at
huge numbers of gene variants in prostate cancer patients across the world,
helping expand our knowledge of the genetic basis of this disease," said Ros
Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London,
which along with the University of Cambridge.

Leading efforts in colorectal cancer is Kenneth T. Norris Jr. Chair in Cancer
Prevention, Keck Medicine of USC, and Stephen Gruber, director, USC Norris
Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Medicine of USC. Leading efforts in breast
cancer on behalf of the US NCI are David J. Hunter, Dean for Academic Affairs,
Harvard School of Public Health; for ovarian cancer the US NCI leader is Tom
Sellers, Director of the Moffit Cancer Center in Florida. In addition, the
Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2, led by Georgia
Chenevix-Trench, will genotype the OncoArray on about 30,000 women and men who
carry mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The project is funded through major grants from the U.S. National Cancer
Institute to the GAME-ON initiative and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology
and Genetics; Genome Canada/Génome Québec/CIHR/Québec Breast Cancer Foundation
through the Personalized Risk Stratification for Prevention and Early
Detection of Breast Cancer; Cancer Research UK (Cambridge University and The
Institute of Cancer Research); Movember and Prostate Cancer UK (The Institute
of Cancer Research) and EU's FP7 grant program (COGS), together with many
other partners.

About OncoArray Consortium Visit the Website   

About Cancer Research  UK Visit the Website   

About COGS Visit the Website   

About  Harvard  School  of Public Health Visit the Website   

About Keck Medicine of USC Visit the Website   

About National Cancer Institute ( USA ) Visit the Web site   

About Université Laval Visit the Website   

About Génome Québec Visit the Website

About  CHU  de Québec Visit the Website

About  Dartmouth 's Center for Genomic Medicine Visit the Website

About Institute of Cancer Research  London UK Visit the Website

Moffit  Cancer  Center  in  Florida Visit the Website

About  Queensland  institute  of  Medical Research Visit the Website

About  University  of  Cambridge Visit the Website

For further information:

Éva Kammer Director, Communications Génome Québec +1-514-398-0668, ext. 206
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