Tip of the Week: International Cancer Genome Consortium

So, remember that tidal wave of data we were going to get from the human genome project?  Yeah.  That was a puddle compared to what’s coming your way now. For this week’s tip of the week I will introduce the very ambitious big data project from the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC).  In addition, you’ll get your first look at the shiny new interface for BioMart!

People reading this blog know that we have made great progress on many fronts in the war on cancer.  But there’s an awful lot we don’t know yet.  The ICGC network of researchers plans to change that.  This international group of researchers has organized and standardized an effort to learn about tumors.  From their homepage:

ICGC Goal: To obtain a comprehensive description of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic changes in 50 different tumor types and/or subtypes which are of clinical and societal importance across the globe.

Check that out:

  • 50 tumor types.  Oh–and by the way–they will also obtain a normal tissue same from the same individual so you can see what’s part of the normal constitution and what has changed in the tumor.
  • Hundreds of samples of that tumor type.  Except for some rare tumors, they intend to obtain 500 of each tumor.
  • More than a dozen types of cancer. Breast, lung, brain, pancreas, liver, leukemia…and on and on.
  • Genomic. Transcriptomic. Epigenomic.  Each of these is a separate data set that needs to be obtained.  Oh, and already there are simple variations (small numbers of nucleotides), CNVs, structural re-arrangements, expression data….And that’s just the initial release.

Are you overwhelmed yet?  50 x 500 x more than a dozen x 3+ types of data (and that’s just back-of-the-napkin, there’s more…)  I am daunted just thinking about the scale of this.

They have organized and standardized the protocols, technologies, data collection, data submissions, and more.  You should check out their marker paper for a complete description of their framework.  They are going to make 2 types of data available: open access data that is de-identified.  And there is a controlled access data set with clinical details that you’ll have to register for access to.

Do note though: the data (like all these large data projects) is subject to data usage policies that you need to be aware of.  There is a publication moratorium that enables the data submitters a window to publish their findings before others are allowed to publish.  It’s that typical balance of rapid access to data + a non-scoop window for the data providers.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with the policies if you are going to use this data.

But let’s say you are ready for it–you understand the framework, you understand the usage policies–how do you get the data?  You use the very cool new interface for BioMart to do it!  This is your first opportunity to look at the GUI developed for BioMart v 0.8.  There’s more coming, this is an early version.  But that’s how you are going to be able to build great custom queries on the underlying data and pull it down.  You may be familiar with BioMart from any number of places now (Ensembl, Gramene, FlyBase, WormBase….more).  But this is the first implementation of the new look–you are going to want to check that out.

For this week’s Tip of the Week you’ll see the ICGC site, and a quick query of the initial data that is available in the Data Coordination Center (DCC).  But this is just an appetizer.  Brace yourselves–the deluge is coming.

A Nature News article offers a nice overview, but be sure to check out the full paper for the project details.

The International Cancer Genome Consortium site: http://icgc.org/

Oh, and this made me laugh:

Be sure to contact the ICGC team if you have any questions.  they want to help you to use this data, and will be happy to answer your questions.  Personally, I’m making it a mission to help them populate the FAQ–I’ve sent in questions.  And so far my answers have been quite speedy :)

Oy. The reference is longer than the blog post.  Sigh.

Hudson (Chairperson), T., Anderson, W., Aretz, A., Barker, A., Bell, C., Bernabé, R., Bhan, M., Calvo, F., Eerola, I., Gerhard, D., Guttmacher, A., Guyer, M., Hemsley, F., Jennings, J., Kerr, D., Klatt, P., Kolar, P., Kusuda, J., Lane, D., Laplace, F., Lu, Y., Nettekoven, G., Ozenberger, B., Peterson, J., Rao, T., Remacle, J., Schafer, A., Shibata, T., Stratton, M., Vockley, J., Watanabe, K., Yang, H., Yuen, M., Knoppers (Leader), B., Bobrow, M., Cambon-Thomsen, A., Dressler, L., Dyke, S., Joly, Y., Kato, K., Kennedy, K., Nicolás, P., Parker, M., Rial-Sebbag, E., Romeo-Casabona, C., Shaw, K., Wallace, S., Wiesner, G., Zeps, N., Lichter (Leader), P., Biankin, A., Chabannon, C., Chin, L., Clément, B., de Alava, E., Degos, F., Ferguson, M., Geary, P., Hayes, D., Hudson, T., Johns, A., Kasprzyk, A., Nakagawa, H., Penny, R., Piris, M., Sarin, R., Scarpa, A., Shibata, T., van de Vijver, M., Futreal (Leader), P., Aburatani, H., Bayés, M., Bowtell, D., Campbell, P., Estivill, X., Gerhard, D., Grimmond, S., Gut, I., Hirst, M., López-Otín, C., Majumder, P., Marra, M., McPherson, J., Nakagawa, H., Ning, Z., Puente, X., Ruan, Y., Shibata, T., Stratton, M., Stunnenberg, H., Swerdlow, H., Velculescu, V., Wilson, R., Xue, H., Yang, L., Spellman (Leader), P., Bader, G., Boutros, P., Campbell, P., Flicek, P., Getz, G., Guigó, R., Guo, G., Haussler, D., Heath, S., Hubbard, T., Jiang, T., Jones, S., Li, Q., López-Bigas, N., Luo, R., Muthuswamy, L., Francis Ouellette, B., Pearson, J., Puente, X., Quesada, V., Raphael, B., Sander, C., Shibata, T., Speed, T., Stein, L., Stuart, J., Teague, J., Totoki, Y., Tsunoda, T., Valencia, A., Wheeler, D., Wu, H., Zhao, S., Zhou, G., Stein (Leader), L., Guigó, R., Hubbard, T., Joly, Y., Jones, S., Kasprzyk, A., Lathrop, M., López-Bigas, N., Francis Ouellette, B., Spellman, P., Teague, J., Thomas, G., Valencia, A., Yoshida, T., Kennedy (Leader), K., Axton, M., Dyke, S., Futreal, P., Gerhard, D., Gunter, C., Guyer, M., Hudson, T., McPherson, J., Miller, L., Ozenberger, B., Shaw, K., Kasprzyk (Leader), A., Stein (Leader), L., Zhang, J., Haider, S., Wang, J., Yung, C., Cross, A., Liang, Y., Gnaneshan, S., Guberman, J., Hsu, J., Bobrow (Leader), M., Chalmers, D., Hasel, K., Joly, Y., Kaan, T., Kennedy, K., Knoppers, B., Lowrance, W., Masui, T., Nicolás, P., Rial-Sebbag, E., Lyman Rodriguez, L., Vergely, C., Yoshida, T., Grimmond (Leader), S., Biankin, A., Bowtell, D., Cloonan, N., deFazio, A., Eshleman, J., Etemadmoghadam, D., Gardiner, B., Kench, J., Scarpa, A., Sutherland, R., Tempero, M., Waddell, N., Wilson, P., McPherson (Leader), J., Gallinger, S., Tsao, M., Shaw, P., Petersen, G., Mukhopadhyay, D., Chin, L., DePinho, R., Thayer, S., Muthuswamy, L., Shazand, K., Beck, T., Sam, M., Timms, L., Ballin, V., Lu (Leader), Y., Ji, J., Zhang, X., Chen, F., Hu, X., Zhou, G., Yang, Q., Tian, G., Zhang, L., Xing, X., Li, X., Zhu, Z., Yu, Y., Yu, J., Yang, H., Lathrop (Leader), M., Tost, J., Brennan, P., Holcatova, I., Zaridze, D., Brazma, A., Egevad, L., Prokhortchouk, E., Elizabeth Banks, R., Uhlén, M., Cambon-Thomsen, A., Viksna, J., Ponten, F., Skryabin, K., Stratton (Leader), M., Futreal, P., Birney, E., Borg, A., Børresen-Dale, A., Caldas, C., Foekens, J., Martin, S., Reis-Filho, J., Richardson, A., Sotiriou, C., Stunnenberg, H., Thomas, G., van de Vijver, M., van’t Veer, L., Calvo (Leader), F., Birnbaum, D., Blanche, H., Boucher, P., Boyault, S., Chabannon, C., Gut, I., Masson-Jacquemier, J., Lathrop, M., Pauporté, I., Pivot, X., Vincent-Salomon, A., Tabone, E., Theillet, C., Thomas, G., Tost, J., Treilleux, I., Calvo (Leader), F., Bioulac-Sage, P., Clément, B., Decaens, T., Degos, F., Franco, D., Gut, I., Gut, M., Heath, S., Lathrop, M., Samuel, D., Thomas, G., Zucman-Rossi, J., Lichter (Leader), P., Eils (Leader), R., Brors, B., Korbel, J., Korshunov, A., Landgraf, P., Lehrach, H., Pfister, S., Radlwimmer, B., Reifenberger, G., Taylor, M., von Kalle, C., Majumder (Leader), P., Sarin, R., Rao, T., Bhan, M., Scarpa (Leader), A., Pederzoli, P., Lawlor, R., Delledonne, M., Bardelli, A., Biankin, A., Grimmond, S., Gress, T., Klimstra, D., Zamboni, G., Shibata (Leader), T., Nakamura, Y., Nakagawa, H., Kusuda, J., Tsunoda, T., Miyano, S., Aburatani, H., Kato, K., Fujimoto, A., Yoshida, T., Campo (Leader), E., López-Otín, C., Estivill, X., Guigó, R., de Sanjosé, S., Piris, M., Montserrat, E., González-Díaz, M., Puente, X., Jares, P., Valencia, A., Himmelbaue, H., Quesada, V., Bea, S., Stratton (Leader), M., Futreal, P., Campbell, P., Vincent-Salomon, A., Richardson, A., Reis-Filho, J., van de Vijver, M., Thomas, G., Masson-Jacquemier, J., Aparicio, S., Borg, A., Børresen-Dale, A., Caldas, C., Foekens, J., Stunnenberg, H., van’t Veer, L., Easton, D., Spellman, P., Martin, S., Barker, A., Chin, L., Collins, F., Compton, C., Ferguson, M., Gerhard, D., Getz, G., Gunter, C., Guttmacher, A., Guyer, M., Hayes, D., Lander, E., Ozenberger, B., Penny, R., Peterson, J., Sander, C., Shaw, K., Speed, T., Spellman, P., Vockley, J., Wheeler, D., Wilson, R., Hudson (Chairperson), T., Chin, L., Knoppers, B., Lander, E., Lichter, P., Stein, L., Stratton, M., Anderson, W., Barker, A., Bell, C., Bobrow, M., Burke, W., Collins, F., Compton, C., DePinho, R., Easton, D., Futreal, P., Gerhard, D., Green, A., Guyer, M., Hamilton, S., Hubbard, T., Kallioniemi, O., Kennedy, K., Ley, T., Liu, E., Lu, Y., Majumder, P., Marra, M., Ozenberger, B., Peterson, J., Schafer, A., Spellman, P., Stunnenberg, H., Wainwright, B., Wilson, R., & Yang, H. (2010). International network of cancer genome projects Nature, 464 (7291), 993-998 DOI: 10.1038/nature08987