By learning more about how gene mutations in cancer cells operate, scientists are getting a closer look at what differentiates one type of cancer from another, identifying subtypes of cancer and gaining a better understanding of how to personalize treatments for individual patients.
Cancer genomics research has helped in developing targeted therapies for certain cancers and diagnostic tests that show whether a patient is likely to respond to a treatment, paving the way for precision medicine.
But this type of research requires an impressive suite of machinery, as well as experts well versed in analyzing large amounts of information. At City of Hope, the Integrative Genomics Core (IGC) provides basic science, translational and clinical researchers with high-quality, efficient, comprehensive and cost-effective genomic services using microarray and high-throughput sequencing technologies. The IGC also provides basic and advanced data analysis services designed to make complex data easier to interpret.
“IGC provides comprehensive and cost effective genomic and bioinformatics services to City of Hope's comprehensive cancer center investigators, using state-of-the-art genome technologies and innovative analytical methods,” said Xiwei Wu, M.D., Ph.D., research professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine and director of the IGC.
The IGC is a shared resource facility within Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope. Partially supported by the National Cancer Institute’s comprehensive cancer center grant, the goal of the IGC is to provide comprehensive genomic services across the research spectrum, from pre-experimental consultation and sample processing to data analysis and grant preparation.
The core is equipped with major state-of-the-art microarray and sequencing platforms for genomic studies, as well as a high-throughput DNA analyzer — instruments that enable a wide range of genetic, epigenetic and gene expression analysis capabilities, and complement each other for different applications.
Furthermore, a team bioinformaticians has established analysis pipelines for all major sequencing applications and has extensive expertise in utilizing both commercial and open-source software tools for sequencing data analysis.
“We are very experienced in preparing sample libraries and performing bioinformatics data analysis, a specific resource and type of expertise that most labs lack,” said Wu.
In fact, each year the IGC processes over 1,500 samples with microarray and sequencing instruments and supports bioinformatics analysis on all the data generated. The bioinformatics team is also experienced in mining public-domain data, as well as depositing the genomic data into government-funded databases for data sharing.
“This shared resource is critical to researchers who study tumorigenesis, cancer diagnosis and prognosis, and therapeutic response prediction, as well to those who develop novel targeted therapies to treat cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases,” said Wu.
City of Hope and Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope offer nearly 30 shared resources to meet researchers’ needs for specialized equipment, services or expert consultation — crucial tools for the pursuit of new treatments and potential cures. These core services, including the IGC, are key to City of Hope’s status as a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and also serve as resources for the greater Southern California research community.