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Collaborative Center for Cancer Genomics

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During the past several years CCRTD scientists have established a close collaboration and working relationships with the scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Institute, which is based at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is only a short distance away from Clark Atlanta University.

This interaction is based at several levels but is very prominent in the areas of gene expression analysis in individual patients. Dr. Shafiq Khan has an adjunct appointment at Georgia Tech and is part of the ovarian cancer consortium. The Ovarian Cancer Institute (OCI) is a virtual research center with main laboratories located at Georgia Institute of Technology and collaborating research laboratories located at Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Emory University, Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, the Medical College of Georgia, Harvard University, North Carolina State University and the Mayo Clinic. Under the direction of Chief Scientific Officer Dr. John McDonald (http://www.biology.gatech.edu/mcdonald_lab/), OCI maintains one of the largest ovarian cancer tissue banks (>1000 patient samples) and patient history databases in the world.

The OCI research program is based on an integrated approach to cancer research combining high-throughput genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and nano-technologies with the goal of establishing new and effective diagnostics and therapeutics for ovarian cancer. The OCI has an ongoing collaborative agreement with a major medical facility (Saint Joseph Hospital) to obtain and analyze samples from individual ovarian cancer patients.

The CCGC is being established in Clark Atlanta University as a collaborative effort between the CCRTD and the Ovarian Cancer Institute at Georgia Tech University (OCIGT). The operation will be based on Next-Generation sequencing technology which is the newest molecular genetics technology that allows biomedical scientists to address global genome composition, inter-individual variation, and global gene expression. For both CCRTD and OCIGT, it is essential to acquire this technology to be competitive in the cancer research field. CCRTD will house the “wet” laboratory which will prepare libraries and operate the instrument, while OCIGT will contributebioinformatics support for processing the data and additional services to complement genomics data. Next-Generation sequencing technology produces massive amounts of sequence data, thus significant computational facilities including hardware, software, and highly qualified personnel are required in order to take advantage of the generated data. In addition, OCIGT will contribute patients sample procurement and complementary technologies including Affymetrix microarray technology and mass-spectroscopy analysis. The funding for the proposed Center will be derived from different sources.  Funds approved for CCRTD from congressional budget will be used to purchase the next-generation sequencing instrument SOLiDTM3 (manufactured by Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA. These funds will cover 62% of the cost of the equipment.

The remainder of the funds will be obtained from Georgia Research Alliance (GRA). GRA has supported the CCRTD since 2004 and has significant funding every year for purchase of capital equipment.  Some of these funds will be used to pay for the remainder of the cost of the equipment. OCIGT will be responsible for their part of the activities and Clark Atlanta University will provide funds to recruit a research associate who will carry out sequence analyses. This facility should be fully functional by the end of 2009 and will be used for genomic analysis of ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer patients.