The 25k Initiative
A Global Imperative to Eliminate the Burden of Cancer
The ICGC was established to launch and coordinate a large number of research projects sharing a common goal of unraveling the genomic changes present in many forms of cancer that contribute to the burden of disease in people throughout the world. Its initial project was to define the genomes of 25,000 primary untreated cancers which to date has produced >20,000 tumour genomes for 26 cancer types. The results of the analyses of these data are available through the ICGC data portal (DCC).
International network of cancer genome projects
As of data release 28 in 2018 the following tumour types and countries were contributing to ICGC:
The ICGC was the first step to broadly and comprehensively map the structural aberrations of genomes and begin to understand the molecular basis of cancer. It was appropriately focused on cancer that had not yet been treated, and on the tumour at its origin (primary cancer). Data generated through the ICGC has transformed research strategies in academia and industry alike, with hundreds of seminal works published directly using ICGC data, with landmark articles in the world’s elite scientific journals. No therapeutic is developed today without, in some way, applying the knowledge that ICGC has provided the world.
More about ICGC's Impact
The second ICGC initiative, the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) study commenced in 2013 and is an international collaboration to identify common patterns of mutation in more than 2,600 cancer whole genomes from the International Cancer Genome Consortium. Building upon previous work which examined cancer coding regions (Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project, Nat. Genet. 2013 45:1113, Cell. 2018 Apr 5;173(2):283-285), this project explored the nature and consequences of somatic and germline variations in both coding and non-coding regions, with specific emphasis on cis-regulatory sites, non-coding RNAs, and large-scale structural alterations.
In 2015, the ICGC, in response to the realization of the potential of genomics in healthcare, released a position “white paper” on the evolution of ICGC move directly to impacting on human health. Emanating from the ICGC for Medicine (ICGCmed) white paper is ICGC’s next project, which aims to Accelerate Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC-ARGO).