ICGA project is inspired by and modelled after The Cancer Genomics Atlas (TCGA) set up by the US National Cancer Institute in 2006.
The Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA)
In this public health effort, high quality clinical meta-data of cancer patients and biospecimens (blood, cancer tissues) representing various clinical scenarios will be ethically collected from various geographical regions of India. Our goal is to characterize the genomic, transcriptomic, epigenetic, and proteomic features of Indian cancers using advanced, next-generation multi-omics technologies. The well-curated big data generated after multi-omics profiling will be analysed for correlation with clinico-pathological profiles and oncological outcomes. Such large datasets will be made available for research in the public domain in an open-source format with appropriate safeguards, documentation, bioethics, and data privacy guidelines.
The successful creation and quality of the proposed open-source multi-omics database of Indian cancers will be entirely dependent on the uniformity, sanctity and integrity of the meta-data and biospecimens collected from various geographical locations. Hence, a pan-India consortium of partners will be established, which will operate as a 'hub-and-spoke' model. The work plan comprises of 5 major representative domains such as:
ICGA Operational Model
ICGA Journey So Far
ICGA Future Roadmap
Pilot Project: Large Scale Multi-omics Profiling of Breast Cancers
Breast Cancer Scenario in India
The breast cancer profile in India is uniquely different than other developed or developing countries with reference to its epidemiology and clinico-pathology as well as clinical management strategies. According to WHOGLOBOCAN data, breast cancer is the most common cancer in India. In 2018, 162,468 new breast cancer cases (14%of all cancer cases) and 87,090 deaths (12.11% of all cancer related deaths) were reported in India. Even though women from all socio-economic strata are affected young (mid-forties), premenopausal urban women appear to be at high risk. The median age at 1st diagnosis in India is between 40-45 years (mainly young, premenopausal women). Lack of awareness in Indian women about disease symptoms, screening modalities, self-breast examination, and/or routine mammographic screening has been attributed to negligence, thereby, resulting in costly delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) , an aggressive sub-type of breast cancer with high mortality rate are highly prevalent in Indian patients. About 25-30% breast cancers in India are TNBCs as compared to 12-15% in the western population.
It is likely that these uniquely different characteristics of Indian breast cancers with respect to epidemiology, genetics, clinic-pathology and treatment outcomes have not been studied in detail in a systematic method. Therefore, as its first pilot project , ICGA will undertake large scale multi-omics profiling of Indian breast cancers in the next 3-5 years.
TCGA is established in the US and has data primarily from local US population and does not include enough Indian samples. It is well established that Indian population is diverse – environmentally, ethnically and genetically and we need data about our own population. These uniquely different characteristics of Indian breast cancers with respect their epidemiology, genetics, clinic-pathology and treatment outcomes have not been co-related with their multi-omics profiles in a systematic method. Therefore, as its first pilot project , ICGA will undertake large scale multi-omics profiling of Indian breast cancers in the next 3-5 years.
Impact of ICGA on Cancer Research in India