The journal Nature has published an article on recent research carried out by members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), devoted to the genomic study of cancer. The consortium brings together more than two hundred researchers from across the globe, including twenty Spanish scientists working under the direction of Dr. Elías Campo, a professor with the Department of Pathological Anatomy, Pharmacology and Microbiology in the UB Faculty of Medicine a researcher for the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, and Dr. Carlos López-Otín, of the University of Oviedo.
Spain's contribution to the ICGC is based on the genomic study of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL Project), the most common form of the disease in western countries and characterized by a high degree of clinical heterogeneity. Drs. Campo and López-Otin have today announced that the first five complete genomes of five Spanish patients have been successfully sequenced and analysed, leading to the identification of the first genetic mutations. This work is the ideal platform on which to develop new diagnostic strategies and new drugs for treating this common cancer type.
The CLL Project forms part of a long tradition of research into this disease in Spain, particularly at the Hospital Clínic and the University of Barcelona, which possesses an extensive collection of samples recorded in a specific database, which is the fundamental source of information for the research. The Project is also supported by important scientific infrastructures such as the new National Genome Analysis Centre (CNAG), directed by the researcher Ivo Gut and based in the Barcelona Science Park. The scientific director of the CLL Project is Dr. Elías Campo, one of the principal authorities on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia research in the world.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium, which brings together researchers from Spain and ten other countries, coordinates research projects around the world with the common goal of sequencing 25,000 genomes of 50 tumour types and subtypes of major clinical and social importance. By identifying the most common genetic alterations in common tumour types, researchers will be better placed to develop more accurate methods of diagnosis and more effective treatments for cancer, a disease that causes one in every four deaths in Spain.
The LLC Project, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Carlos III Health Institute, also drew participation from researchers of the Centre for Genomic Regulation, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, the Cancer Research Centre of Salamanca and the University of Deusto.
" International network of cancer genome projects". Nature, 464, 993-998 [online]. [consulted 15 April 2010].