The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Pilot Program

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Investigator: Karen S. Smith-McCune, MD, PhD
Sponsor: SAIC-Frederick

Location(s): United States

Description

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) began as a three-year pilot in 2006 with an investment of $50 million each from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The TCGA pilot project confirmed that an atlas of changes could be created for specific cancer types. It also showed that a national network of research and technology teams working on distinct but related projects could pool the results of their efforts, create an economy of scale and develop an infrastructure for making the data publicly accessible. Importantly, it proved that making the data freely available would enable researchers anywhere around the world to make and validate important discoveries. The success of the pilot led the National Institutes of Health to commit major resources to TCGA to collect and characterize more than 20 additional tumor types.