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Development and Validation of Comparative Genomic Hybridization Arrays for Clinical Use in Cancer

  • Project Leaders: Doug Horsman, Wan Lam
  • Institutions: BC Cancer (Previously BC Cancer Agency (BCCA))
  • Budget: $4681274
  • Program/Competition: Applied Genomics Programs
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome Canada
  • Status: Closed

Cancer research involves examining genetic changes associated with cancer development and progression. This project has developed and evaluated tiling resolution whole genome array comparative genome hybridization (aCGH). This technique uses thousands of small DNA fragments to simultaneously scan the entire genome for copy number changes in tumours. These genetic alterations may be specific for a type of cancer and be used in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Gaining a better understanding of cancer progression will lead to the development of better preventative measures, screening protocols, and therapies.  The project involved collaboration between cancer centres in BC, Alberta and Ontario. By the end of the project, 37 different sites worldwide used the platform. During the course of the Project cost per case has been reduced from $2000 to $500. This technology has been successfully transferred to a number of clinical laboratories and has been used to diagnose a number of hereditary cancer patients at the BCCA and is used in the characterization of inherited disorders at the BC Children’s hospital. The aCGH platform has helped transform the investigation and management of cancer patients, by enabling the introduction of high-resolution, partially automated and competitively priced technology to assess DNA dosage changes in cancer.