The ARGO Vision
We know each cancer is different, yet we treat them much the same. A major challenge is that we don’t have the information to know ahead of time which treatments will work and which won't. This is why we have ICGC ARGO.
The ARGO project is a new phase of the International Cancer Genome Consortium. Launched in 2019 after 10 successful years of the ICGC mapping genomic alterations that characterise over 50 cancer types. The time has now come to translate this knowledge to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer.
ICGC ARGO will uniformly analyze specimens from 100,000 cancer patients with high quality clinical data to address outstanding questions that are vital to our quest to defeat cancer.
Over the next ten years ICGC ARGO aims to deliver a million patient-years of precision oncology knowledge to the world, by making data available to the entire research community in a rapid and responsible way, to accelerate research into the causes and control of cancer.
The ARGO project aims to address the following questions:
- How do we use current treatments better?
- How does a cancer change with time and treatment?
- How do we practically implement these approaches in healthcare and drug development?
- How do we advance early detection and ultimately prevent cancer?
Research shows that each cancer is different, yet we treat them much the same. A major challenge is that we don’t have the information to know ahead of time which treatments will work and which won't. This means that frequently clinicians either overtreat or undertreat cancers, or there is no meaningful treatment at all.
This is important as cancer incidence and deaths are rising worldwide as a result of the growth and aging of the human population. There were 17 million new cases of cancer (all cancers combined excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) worldwide in 2018 and it is predicted there will be 27.5 million new cancer cases worldwide each year by 2040; an increase of 61.7% from 2018, if recent trends in incidence of major cancers and population growth continue globally.
The ability to rapidly generate massive ‘omics datasets has driven a new era in the world of medicine which promises to optimally manage disease, leading to improvements in outcomes for patients and efficiencies in healthcare systems. This is known as “Precision Medicine”. Precision medicine aims to match each patient with the treatment that will work best for them and their genome provide individualised care, and better address those questions every cancer patient deserves an answer to, such as “which treatment will be most effective for me and what will be the likely outcome”.
Numerous platforms for various cancer types have been established to address these vital questions in many countries around the world. Whilst these build on our knowledge base, there are currently no mechanisms to standardise the complex analyses, or efficient mechanisms for data sharing for cancer that will enable composite and pooled analyses of data from around the world. Based on the 10-year ICGC experience, ARGO stands poised to accelerate cancer research for the international community through its established infrastructure, expertise and workflows.
The project size and scope will enable:
- An understanding of the regional differences in disease around the world.
- The heterogeneity of cancer.
- The diversity of environmental risk factors.
- Describe new cancers with a common genomic background, and common outcomes; and the many different combinations of therapeutic interventions.