Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA)

Mains level : Burden of non-communicable diseases on India

The Ministry of Science & Technology has inaugurated the 2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) 2020 Conference.

Do you know?

According to the World Cancer Report by the WHO, one in 10 Indians develops cancer during their lifetime and one in 15 dies of the disease!

The Cancer Genome Atlas

  • The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is a landmark project started in 2005 by the US-based National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
  • The idea was to make a catalogue of the genetic mutations that cause cancer.
  • This meant collecting tumour samples and blood samples (known as the germline) from patients and processing them using gene sequencing and bioinformatics.
  • The TCGA is a continuing effort even after fifteen years and has generated over 2.5 petabytes of data for over 11,000 patients.
  • This data is available to researchers all around the world and has been used to develop new approaches to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.

Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA)

  • On similar lines, the establishment of an ICGA has been initiated by a consortium of key stakeholders in India led by CSIR in which several government agencies, cancer hospitals, academic institutions and private sector partners.
  • It is aimed at improving clinical outcomes in cancer and other chronic diseases.

Why need such Atlas?

  • Diverse molecular mechanisms- including genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to cancer, posing significant challenges to treatment.
  • Therefore, it is necessary to better understand the underlying factors- patient by patient.
  • In this context, it is important to create an indigenous, open-source and comprehensive database of molecular profiles of all cancer prevalent in Indian population.
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