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MD Anderson named as 1 of 2 Genome Characterization Centers

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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Credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been named a site for one of two new Genome Characterization Centers (GCC) funded through the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The centers are responsible for characterizing the molecular changes found in cancer tumors studied as part of multiple ongoing programs through the National Cancer Institute.

The MD Anderson center will focus on functional proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins at the functional level, such as protein expression and modification. It will be led by Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Systems Biology, and Rehan Akbani, Ph.D., assistant professor of Bioinformatics & Computational Biology.

The project was funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (HHSN261200800001E), and provided through MD Anderson's Functional Proteomics Reverse Phase Protein Array Core.

"The MD Anderson GCC will perform extensive genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analysis of patients' samples collected through multiple programs at NCI," said J.C. Zenklusen, Ph.D., director of NCI's The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program. "It will support important NCI initiatives such as the Exceptional Responders Initiative, the ALCHEMIST precision medicine trials, and the Cancer Driver Discovery Project."

In addition, the center will support efforts from NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, the Cancer Trials Support Unit, and the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.

"MD Anderson has been at the forefront of proteomic investigation and it is an honor to be selected as a site for this notable center," said Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., provost and executive vice president.

Mills believes the efforts could "encompass as many as 25,000 patient samples."

"This will provide an incredible information trove linked to high-quality patient outcomes data, genomic, epigenomic, and proteomic data. It's a great example of how working together can yield important clinical understanding," he said.

"Studying large-scale proteomic changes will greatly aid in learning more about the causes of, and potential effective treatments for, cancers and other complex diseases," added Akbani.

The other Genome Characterization Center is based at the Broad Institute in Boston.

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