ICGC Goals, Structure, Policies and Guidelines (February 2010)

ICGC Goal: To obtain a comprehensive description of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic changes in 50 different tumor types and/or subtypes which are of clinical and societal importance across the globe.

C. Background to the Consortium

Following the provision of the reference human genome sequence, the potential for using systematic genome wide screens for the understanding of cancer biology prompted a number of groups around the world to embark on efforts at comprehensive genomic characterization of tumors. The more recent advent of new sequencing technologies has made implementation of this approach on a large scale a realistic possibility in the near future. Therefore, cancer and genomic researchers and funding agency representatives from 22 countries gathered in Toronto, Canada in October 2007 to discuss strategies to accelerate the comprehensive study of cancer genomes. Attendees agreed that genomic technologies are approaching the stage at which cancer genome analysis will be feasible on a comprehensive and high-throughput scale. Meeting participants enthusiastically endorsed the launching of an international consortium to globally pursue this goal in a coordinated manner.

In recognition of numerous challenges that are specific to each tumor type (and subtype), it was agreed that the level of organization on which cancer genomics within the ICGC will be approached is at the specific cancer type or subtype.

An Executive Committee (EXEC) for the preparation of the ICGC was established, with representatives of funding agencies from Australia, Canada, China, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States (the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute) and the European Commission (Observer Status). Dr. Tom Hudson (President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research) agreed to provide Secretariat functions for the EXEC. A Scientific Planning Committee (SPC) composed of leading scientists in the fields of cancer, genomics, ethics, and bioinformatics research was also composed. These committees, which were augmented by focused working groups (Appendix), developed the following proposal to provide funding agencies and the scientific community sufficient information to allow them to determine their interest and ability to participate in the Consortium.

Last Updated on: 7 February 2010