New center to assist in understanding non-coding cancer genome

The MacMillan Center for the Study of the Non-Coding Cancer Genome (MCSNCG) was officially launched by the New York Genome Center (NYGC) on January 18th, 2023.

New center to assist in understanding non-coding cancer genome

Image Credit: Shutterfly

The center is a significant new initiative in cancer research to investigate the function and role of the non-coding genome and epigenome in the emergence, progression, and treatment of numerous cancer types, including breast, ovary, pancreatic, gastrointestinal, lung, and hematologic cancers.

This Center, with its leading-edge multidisciplinary approach—bringing together experts in genomics, engineering, mathematics, computational biology, and cancer biology—will dramatically advance the understanding of the role of the non-coding genome in cancer.

Tom Maniatis, PhD, Evnin Family Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer, New York Genome Center

The non-coding “dark” genome, which makes up 98% of the human genome, regulates the organization of intracellular organelles, accessibility of the genome to regulatory proteins and RNA, and DNA organization and structure across all molecular layers of biological complexity (i.e., genome, epigenome, transcriptome, and proteome).

The molecular processes by which cells function hold extraordinary promise for understanding how cellular identity is encoded in different cell types and cell states, how cells are modified by intercellular interactions within the microenvironment, including immune cells, and how they are disrupted in various disease states, most notably in cancer.

Although individual gene-focused research projects have made extraordinary progress, the biomedical research community has historically lacked the tools and a collaborative framework to systematically investigate the role of the non-coding genome in cancer.

As a result, fundamental inquiries regarding the part played by the non-coding genome in the development and spread of many cancer types remain unanswered.

The MCSNCG, which was made possible by a kind donation from the MacMillan Family Foundation, will work with other institutions to conduct multidisciplinary research to find the answers to these questions. Its team of researchers includes engineers, data scientists, mathematicians, technologists, and experts in biology.

The MCSNCG will be able to work in concert with this diverse group of experts from the NYGC’s collaborative network to understand how behavior is encoded in cells and decipher the intricate intercellular interactions involved in the growth of cancerous cells, metastasis, and drug resistance.

Another crucial element of the Center is education and outreach, which aims to encourage diversity and representation in genomics and cancer research, involve the larger scientific community, and inform the public about the importance and benefits of this significant work.

To that end, the MCSNCG will provide post-baccalaureate and internship training opportunities, workshops, and seminars for both scientific and general audiences, while also widely disseminating the Center’s research findings through the publication of protocols, analytic techniques, genomic data, and discoveries.

The Polyethnic-1000 (P-1000) initiative is one example of regional cancer and genomic technology research initiative that will be used by the MCSNCG to maximize the impact of this research.

To better understand the role of genetic diversity in cancer, improve the application and results of precision medicine for these populations, and address the stark racial disparities in cancer research and diagnosis, the P-1000 initiative’s researchers examine the cancer genomes of under-represented minority populations.

Decoding causality is fundamental to providing interpretable quantitative explanations of elements of the non-coding genome in cancer. Biological problems of this nature require cross-cutting programs where investigators with a broad range of expertise are supported to collaborate and focus on building new measurement methods and computational frameworks to understand the complex dynamics of cancer biology.

Samuel Aparicio, BM, BCh, PhD, FRCPath, FRSC, Senior Scientific Director, Cancer Genomics, New York Genome Center

By innovating and utilizing new technologies, methodologies, and analytics, the NYGC and the MacMillan Family Foundation are dedicated to significantly and quantitatively expanding the understanding of cancer biology.

The BC Cancer Research Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Northwell Health, New York University, and Weill Cornell Medicine are among the eight institutions represented in this new collaborative effort.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoLifeSciences.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
Protein that facilitates cancer-causing viruses dodge the immune system