The CHTN takes note that human tissue samples continue to play a major role in cancer research. One of the latest national cancer research efforts takes the form of the so called “Cancer Moonshot” program that has been organized by the office of Vice-President Joe Biden. While the CHTN itself has not been tapped for this effort, some of the CHTN Principal Investigators have been involved in information-gathering and organizational efforts for this program. One subprogram of the Cancer Moonshot has been thematically termed the Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes (APOLLO) consortium. APOLLO will build on the enormously successful The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC). These previous programs have provided open access to raw genomic and proteomic data to cancer researchers that have been useful in both discovery research by data mining and validation of laboratory molecular findings in a larger dataset. Some limitations of these previous datasets is limited associated clinical data and relative paucity of samples with simultaneous comprehensive DNA, RNA and protein analyses to understand the interplay of cancer type, genomic variants and various forms of gene expression. APOLLO is set to address this challenge and add to the publicly available data sets by performing simultaneous genomic sequencing, RNA sequencing and proteomic analysis of the same human tumor samples, with annotation of clinicopathologic data and outcomes.
An information sheet about the initiation of the Cancer Moonshot program is available at: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative.
The CHTN sees such national programs as proof that the analysis of human tissue specimens still is seen as an important tool in the understanding of the cancer disease process. While hypothesis-driven research in animal models and other laboratory-based models of cancer ultimately illuminates disease mechanisms, it is the direct study of diseased tissue and body fluids that informs the framing of hypotheses and provides validation of laboratory-based discoveries. The CHTN stands ready to serve as a conduit of such crucial research resources to the scientific community.